Each one of us is a pedestrian at least some of the time. Yet the driving culture in California and the rest of the United States is so pervasive that pedestrians are often viewed as nuisances without the same rights as drivers.
While traffic safety has increased overall in recent years, rates of pedestrian injuries and fatalities seem to be going in the other direction. In order to effectively address this problem, regulators and safety advocates need to place a stronger focus on pedestrian safety. That was perhaps the reasoning behind a new annual tradition started this year.
For the first time ever, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated October as national Pedestrian Safety Month. Throughout the month, the NHTSA put out educational materials and public service announcements about pedestrian safety and the most serious dangers pedestrians face. These include:
- The idea that speed limits for cars tend to be too high, and people often drive faster than the posted limit
- The hazards of distracted driving and distracted walking
- The hazards of impaired driving and impaired walking
- The problem of drivers illegally passing school buses as they stop to pick up or drop off students.
- The increased risks posed to pedestrians in the weeks following the beginning or end of daylight savings time.
Important issues at all times of year
Pedestrian safety is a large enough issue that the NHTSA devoted an entire month to highlighting it. But pedestrian accidents are a serious problem throughout the year, and all of us need to be more vigilant about preventing these injurious and often fatal accidents. And while pedestrians do need to practice safe travel habits and stay alert, the bulk of the responsibility falls on drivers. In any collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, there is no doubt about which will fare worse.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident caused by driver negligence, please discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney in your area.