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Why Do Auto-Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Posted in Blog on September 4, 2014

When it comes to man versus machine on the road, machine usually wins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult male in the U.S. weighs 195.5 pounds, while the adult female weighs an average of 166.2 pounds. With the typical passenger vehicle tipping the scale at over 4,000 pounds in the country, as reported by the New York Post, it’s easy to see why a pedestrian is at such a high risk for serious injury and even death in an auto-pedestrian accident.

Still, most people will have to walk by traffic and cross streets as part of their daily routine despite the risk nearby vehicles pose. By knowing some of the common factors in these types of accidents, you can take extra precautions to avoid becoming a victim.

The Denver Post Report

In 2013, The Denver Post covered a spike in local auto-pedestrian accidents. Over the first eight weeks of that year, auto accidents involving pedestrians were up 46 percent when compared to the same time in 2012. The trend prompted both the newspaper and the Denver Police Department to evaluate the most common causes for these accidents, which are as follows:

  • Drugs and/or alcohol are a common factor in auto accidents involving injury and death in general. According to the Colorado State Patrol, accidents with drivers under the influence are twice as likely to result in injury or death than accidents with sober drivers.
  • Engineering is another contributor to auto-pedestrian accidents. Changing the city’s infrastructure is a costly endeavor, so dangerous intersections are often left intact. In early August of 2014, for instance, a mother and her 10-year-old son were killed while crossing at Marksheffel and Bradley Roads in Colorado Springs. The intersection is considered so dangerous by nearby residents that many don’t want to drive on it, as reported by KKTV News.
  • Distractions, such as texting and eating, are a factor in many auto-pedestrian crashes. Lt. Robert Rock, head of Denver’s traffic investigation unit, told the Post that his department is seeing more distracted drivers and pedestrians in these types of accidents.

Two different auto-pedestrian collisions within minutes of each other near East High School highlight the dangers of being distracted for both drivers and pedestrians. Two students, a 16-year-old and 14-year-old, were both hit by cars while they were walking to school on February 27, 2013, as covered by The Denver Post.

The 16-year-old student was struck by a sedan on East Colfax Avenue as she was crossing the crosswalk. The driver ran a red light and kept driving after hitting the young student, who suffered from serious head injury.

In the case of the 14-year-old student, who was also crossing East Colfax Avenue, pedestrian distraction was the main factor. According to witnesses, the student darted into traffic with no warning and was hit and seriously injured by a passing car. Unlike the 16-year-old’s case, the driver remained on the scene.

Even though the causes for auto-pedestrian accidents vary, paying attention to your surroundings can help you stay safe as a pedestrian no matter what potential accident factors are at play. Always take the time to observe traffic, light signals and other road conditions before crossing the street to avoid a potentially tragic outcome. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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