From the time people learn to walk, they learn the rules of being a safe pedestrian. Even children know that you should always look both ways before crossing the street, always use the crosswalk, and not to cross if a car looks like it is not going to stop. Despite the fact that we all know these rules, pedestrians are still hit by motorists.

Even low-speed collisions with pedestrians can have devastating consequences. In 2013 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study with 10 years of data regarding pedestrian accidents. As of 2013, 14% – or about one in seven – of all fatalities that resulted from vehicle accidents were due to vehicles hitting pedestrians.

Recent fallout of a pedestrian accident

That was almost the situation for a Hawaii woman in 2014. Mariah Tinay, resident of Pearl City, a town just outside Honolulu, survived being hit by a vehicle while using a crosswalk, but suffered a severe brain injury from the accident. After extensive court proceedings, Honolulu officials recently agreed to award $2 million dollars in a settlement.

This settlement is due in-large to the poorly maintained streets in Pearl City, according to Attorney Michael Cruise. The area of the accident did not have street signs warning of a crosswalk, the area was poorly lit and was heavily obscured by trees.

Factors that lead to pedestrian accidents

Ms. Tinay’s determination highlights the fact that these types of accidents rarely occur because of careless pedestrians. There are several factors which can lead to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. In this situation, poorly trimmed foliage, lightning that did not meet Pearl City’s minimum standards and lack of signage were largely to blame.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of pedestrian accident happen:

  • In urban areas
  • In “non-intersections” such as parking lots, bike lanes and crossing islands
  • On weekends between 6 PM and 3 AM
  • To people between 35 and 45
  • To males 25% more often than females

Each situation is unique, and variables vary widely from once accident to another. What is critical to understand is that pedestrians are rarely in accidents because of their own ignorance. People injured in a pedestrian accident should not be afraid to hold the negligent party responsible. It could be the difference between taking financial burdens alone and receiving a settlement like Ms. Tinay’s to help cover expenses.

Autumn is quickly approaching which means fewer hours of daylight and harsher glare during sunrise and sunset. Stay safe by taking extra care when taking walks, heading to school or work or walking the dog.

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