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How to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents & Increase Pedestrian Safety

Every year pedestrian accidents in BC result in death or severe injuries to the victims. Although many pedestrians survive, they are often left with long-term disabilities such as permanent damage to the head, spine, and organs. Some of the highest risk factors for pedestrian injuries are driver speed, distracted and impaired driving, lack of driver awareness, pedestrian behavior and less safe roadways. In order to reduce the number of accidents caused to pedestrians, several safety measures can be taken.

Reduce Traffic Speeds

It is a good idea to make it a habit to reduce driving speed when going through an intersection. Driving aggressively (e.g., trying to get through a light before it turns red) can lead to pedestrian accidents. Drivers already have a tendency to underestimate their speed and the amount of time needed to be able to come to a complete stop when it is needed. At speeds of just over 30-40 km/hour, both drivers and pedestrians alike are more likely to misjudge the time required to stop or to cross the street safely, according to the World Health Organization World (WHO). What’s needed is a safe distance for braking that is proportional to a vehicle’s speed; even slowing down a little can heavily reduce the risk of an accident. The same research study from the WHO shows that a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 50 km/hour is eight times more likely to be killed than someone hit at 30 km/hour.

Deter Distracted and Impaired Driving

When drivers are distracted or have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of over 0.05 g/l (grams per decilitre), there is a greater chance of a car accident and that it will result in serious injury or death. While impaired driving continues to be an ongoing concern, distracted driving is a relatively recent problem that is growing with the popularity of mobile devices and technology in automobiles. Like impaired drivers, drivers that use mobile phones while driving usually have slower reaction times in braking and responding to traffic signals, trouble staying in their lane, and they maintain distances that are too close. Turning left or right without realizing that a pedestrian is on the road crossing can be a major mistake. A recent City of Vancouver Pedestrian Safety Study found that in 42.7 percent of accidents, the driver was turning while the pedestrian crossed with right-of-way.

In order to reduce pedestrian accidents caused by distracted and impaired driving, several measures are possible. These include: tougher legislation and enforcement for drivers, public awareness campaigns and new technology (e.g., cell phone apps that redirect calls if they sense that a mobile phone is in a moving vehicle).

Increase Driver Awareness and Pedestrian Visibility

Not seeing the person is a frequently sited reason for a driver hitting a pedestrian. Pedestrians are much smaller in size and shape and usually less bright than vehicles on the road. When there is both motorized and non-motorized traffic together and poor street lighting, the accident risks for pedestrians increase, especially in the darkness at night and in dim daylight conditions. The Vancouver Pedestrian Safety Study found that nearly half of all pedestrian collisions occur when there is less day-light, from November to February, and most frequently on weekdays between 3pm and 6pm. Ways to increase visibility include requiring drivers to use their headlights at all times, more street lights and colourful, reflective clothing worn by pedestrians.

Increase Pedestrian Education About Safety

Teaching pedestrians about safety is important since failing to follow the road rules (e.g., jaywalking or running against the light) increases the risk of being hit by a car. Being distracted while crossing an intersection (e.g., listening to music, talking on a cellphone, and texting) also raises the odds of a pedestrian accident occurring. Pedestrians would benefit from learning how to better protect themselves as vulnerable road users. Imposing penalties on pedestrians seen crossing the road while distracted could also help to reduce accidents.

Make Communities More Walkable

Research in the United States and Europe shows a link between communities that are conducive to walking and few pedestrian injuries. These communities make walking environments both safer and more attractive by using a combination of trees, trails, sidewalks and crosswalks. Policies that encourage more people to walk can increase pedestrian safety as well; walking in greater numbers reduces the risk of getting hurt from an auto accident, possibly due to greater visibility that a group provides.

Contact Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation After a Pedestrian Accident

If you or a loved one has had a pedestrian accident, contact our lawyers at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation. We will listen compassionately and work hard to get justice for you. You should not have to suffer because of a driver’s negligence. Contact us at 604-654-2250 today.

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