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Pedestrian Accidents: The Basics

The prevalence of pedestrian accidents is not widely known, for such incidences rarely make the news in larger centers. This fact not withstanding, statistics tell a different story. According to the National Highway and Safety Administration, more than 4,375 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2008. Statistics are equally grim for Canada where more people have been killed on Canada's roads in the past 50 years than Canadians killed in two world wars. But most accidents that cause death and injury can be avoided.

As simple as this rule of thumb sounds, adults are often neglectful of the important rule they preach to their children: look both ways. Pedestrians need to be their own advocates by following traffic signals, using cross walks and taking extreme care on busy highways.

Children are at great risk of injury on our roads and highways. The Center for Disease Control report that more children between 5 and 19 years are killed due to "crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury". CDC's Injury Center promotes child pedestrian safety including the creation of safer walking environments and safe-walking programs. Parents and educators must strive to keep our children safe by equipping them with knowledge and skills to protect themselves while walking.

Sometimes, regardless of due caution, pedestrians, young and old, are struck by motor vehicles through no fault of their own. It is incumbent on those operating motor vehicles to be alert to traffic signals as well as traffic laws regarding passing vehicles, passing school buses, and speed restrictions. Distracted drivers are one significant cause of road injuries; when drivers are not paying attention at crosswalks and intersections, the chances of injuries to others is significant. Likewise, drivers who are intoxicated are a danger to us all.

Sadly, the number of hit and run accidents is still a concern across the country. When a pedestrian is hit by a driver who speeds away, it is difficult for authorities to find the culprit and then impossible for the victim to seek damages. Hit-and-run has serious consequences to the injured as well as serious legal consequences to the culprit. As laws vary state-to-state, an attorney is your best advocate if you or someone you love has been involved in a pedestrian accident.