Warwick police put drivers to the test last week when they conducted an undercover assessment to see if drivers complied with Rhode Island state law that requires them to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Financed in part by a Rhode Island Department of Transportation grant, “Walk Wise Warwick” was formed to create awareness after a pedestrian was hit and killed earlier this year trying to cross Main Avenue in Warwick to reach a convenience store. At Tapalian Law, as Providence personal injury attorney’s we see pedestrian injuries often caused by a driver who does not obey the law requiring them to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. This may be due to distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, or general lack of knowledge of the law. Whatever the reason, pedestrian fatalities are on the rise and are at the highest number in more than two decades.
Rhode Island Pedestrian Fatalities Saw Huge Increase in 2016
Rhode Island saw 7 pedestrian deaths during the period of January-June 2016. This is a tremendous jump, 250%, compared to that same 6-month period in 2015, when there were 2 pedestrian fatalities. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrians killed in U.S. traffic accidents jumped 11% last year, the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever seen. Alarmingly, this equates to nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed in accidents. As Rhode Island auto accident lawyers, we continually hear about new automotive safety technology designed to decrease car crashes and their resulting deaths and personal injury. It would make sense that new safety measures would increase the safety of drivers and pedestrians, however the GHSA is showing differently. They are finding a spike in the motor vehicle related deaths of both pedestrians and cyclists. In 2016, traffic related deaths went up 6% across the U.S. One might assume this increase in crash fatalities accounts for the jump in pedestrian accidents, however the National Safety Council tends to think there is something else causing the upturn in pedestrian accidents.
Pedestrian Injuries Often Linked to Distracted or Reckless Driving
It is common to hear about driver negligence, or distracted driving (see Tapalian Law’s most recent blog on the topic), and after speeding accidents and failure to yield accidents, distractions are the third largest cause of pedestrian fatalities. Despite being illegal in many states including Rhode Island, unfortunately texting and driving still seems to be a constant occurrence. Motor vehicle operators are seen looking down at their phones daily, and the same goes for pedestrians. Aptly called “distracted walking”, this also contributes to the climb in pedestrian injuries and deaths. Some cities and towns have even tried to ban texting while walking, some successful and others not.
Speeding drivers and drunk drivers commonly inflict pedestrian injuries and accidents. The impact a speeding car can have on someone walking or cycling can be the difference between a non-life-threatening injury and death. A pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 20mph has a 10% chance of dying. A pedestrian hit by a moving vehicle at 40mph has an 80% chance of death. Alcohol is another significant factor in pedestrian deaths. The GHSA states that 15% of pedestrians are killed by a drunk driver, while 34% of the pedestrians killed are impaired themselves. Time of day is a contributing factor to pedestrian accidents as well, with 75% of pedestrian fatalities occurring at night.
Seek Help from a Providence Pedestrian Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, drunk driver, or speeding driver, while walking or bicycling in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, do not hesitate to seek out the guidance of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. Tapalian Law has over 15 years of experience helping victims of personal injury due to speeding, reckless driving, and drunk driving. We understand the impact that an auto accident can have on the injured and their family. Attorney David Tapalian will help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There is no cost to speak with us at one of our conveniently located offices in Providence, RI and Seekonk, MA. If you are hurt and can’t get to us, Attorney Tapalian will come to you. Call us today for a free review of your pedestrian injury, car accident or other personal injury case, at 401-552-5000. Or contact us with our easy, online form.