An Urbandale High School employee was hit by a car in the crosswalk in front of the school yesterday in the early hours of the morning just before the students started to arrive. The fatal accident reminds area residents of the dangers presented at the busy intersection and many are calling for increased awareness to prevent future tragedies from occurring.
According to a recent National Highway Safety Administration NHTSA report, on average a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes with pedestrian deaths accounting for more than 10 percent of all car accidents. The Governors Board of Traffic Safety reports that pedestrian fatalities are outpacing all other traffic deaths, with a 27 percent increase in incidents over the last decade.
While pedestrian accidents correlate with the weather, time of day, economic conditions, demographics, fuel prices, and vehicle miles traveled and the presence of people walking, there are concerns that impaired and distracted driving may also play a role. Alcohol played a role in nearly half of all pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2016 and not surprisingly cell phone use while driving also figures prominently.
Also notable is that children and older adults are especially vulnerable to pedestrian accidents for reasons that include limited pedestrian experience, inadequate risk perception and perceptual judgement in children and fragility, reduced mobility and vision in the elderly. Studies reveal Iowa pedestrian fatalities involving children ages 15 and younger was among the highest in the country between the years of 2014-2015.
Strategies to increase the separation of pedestrians from cars include installing refuge islands on two way streets, use of pedestrian over and underpasses, countdown signals for pedestrians, and traffic signals where warranted. It is also crucial that pedestrians are more visible to drivers so improved street lighting, high visibility crosswalks and flashing beacons alerting drivers to an upcoming crosswalk are suggested. Higher speeds are associated with the greater likelihood of an accident and of greater injuries to a pedestrian. Drivers should adjust speeds down in the presence of pedestrian traffic to reduce the likelihood of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured by being struck by a vehicle, contact the Iowa pedestrian accident attorneys of Hemminger Law Firm to discuss what compensation may be available to you or your family member to cover medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering caused by negligent motorists.
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