Almost everyone in Bellevue is a pedestrian at some point during their day. Unfortunately, while it might seem harmless to walk to your car after work or walk a few blocks to the store, there's plenty of risk for pedestrian accidents. Below are some state and national statistics regarding pedestrian accidents, as well as other facts about these accidents.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics Locally and Nationally
A report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) indicates that in 2012 there were 21 fatalities and 133 serious injuries from pedestrian accidents across King County. The agency also reports that throughout the entire state in 2012, 2,048 pedestrians were involved in a collision with a vehicle leading to 75 fatalities, 337 serious injuries and 1,594 minor injuries.
Of everyone involved in pedestrian accidents in 2012, 98.4 percent either died or were injured in the crash. This is compared to 49.3 percent of drivers who died or were injured in vehicle collisions and 39.4 percents of vehicle occupants who died or were injured in vehicle collisions.
Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 4,743 pedestrian fatalities in 2012.
Causes and Preventative Measures for Pedestrian Accidents
Studies have found that failure to cross at the crosswalks and instead crossing at midblock points is a major cause of pedestrian accidents. WTSC's statewide statistics support these findings. Of the 75 fatalities in the state, 19 involved a right-of-way violation on the part of the pedestrian while 15 involved a failure to use the crosswalk. Nationwide in 2012, 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities happened at intersections while 70 percent occurred at non-intersection locations.
Alcohol and drugs are another risk factor for pedestrian accidents. The WTSC found that 35 of the fatalities from 2012 involved the pedestrian being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Intoxication of the driver or pedestrian can delay reaction times leading to accidents. Visibility can also lead to pedestrian accidents, which can put pedestrians at risk when walking at night.
Younger children and the elderly tend to be more at risk for pedestrian accidents and fatalities than other age groups. Records show these age groups have disproportionately higher accident rates. This may be attributable to their inexperience (children) or inability to evade traffic because of physical ailments (elderly).
To prevent these injuries and deaths, pedestrians should stay on the sidewalk whenever possible and only cross at crosswalk locations. Before crossing, pedestrians should look left, right then left again to make sure no cars are coming. Never trust a driver to stop even if he or she is legally required to stop. Wait until the driver stops before crossing. Pedestrians can also make eye contact with drivers before crossing and put away any distractions, like their cell phones, that could slow their reaction time when crossing the street.
Pedestrian Accidents and the Law
Generally, Washington state law balances obligations between pedestrians and motorists. Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals when walking and cannot unexpectedly bolt into traffic. They must also always yield to vehicles outside of crosswalks and street intersections. Cars must always stop at uncontrolled crosswalks and intersections to yield to pedestrians. In all manners of driving, motorists are required to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to other people.
Max Meyers Law helps Bellevue pedestrians injured in accidents. Call us at 425-399-7000 if you were in a serious pedestrian accident.