Recently, in Florence, Mississippi, a woman was killed while walking along Highway 49. Barbara Ellen Smith of Florence had experienced car trouble and pulled over to the side of the road. She was walking along the highway, likely attempting to find help, when she was struck by a vehicle and killed. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Months prior, a pedestrian was killed here in Jackson by a drunk driver. The pedestrian had been involved in an earlier accident and a paramedic was on the scene treating him for a broken arm. Robert Howard, 44 years old, pummeled into the pedestrian and EMT, killing the pedestrian and seriously injuring the paramedic. The paramedic lost an eye as a result of the injuries. Howard has been arrested for aggravated DUI and aggravated DUI injury.
These incidences are just a few of the many pedestrian accidents that occur on Mississippi roadways each year. In 2010, pedestrian deaths represented 8% of all traffic fatalities. Over 50 pedestrians died in traffic accidents across the state, causing Mississippi to rank tenth highest for pedestrian deaths.
Nationwide, an alarming 13 pedestrians are killed by cars every day. The following is a list of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. This knowledge can help you to stay safe while walking:
- Poor lighting—more pedestrian accidents occur at night than any other time, and often happen along unlit roadways which render the pedestrian invisible to drivers until it is too late. Avoid walking at night along poorly illuminated roadways and wear bright clothing whenever you know you may end up walking past dusk.
- Distracted driving—distracted driving is the cause of nearly 20% of all pedestrian accidents. Drivers who are texting, talking on their phones, checking emails, and the like are most at risk for not seeing pedestrians walking nearby. The phenomenon of distracted driving, spurred largely by evolving technology, is costing pedestrians their lives. This makes it extremely important that you act diligently in listening for oncoming cars and staying a good distance away from traffic.
- Distracted walking—walking distractedly can be just as dangerous as driving in this condition. Distracted walkers, most often those who text while walking, are in part contributing to the nationwide rise in pedestrian fatalities. Over 1,500 pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms annually for cell phone related injuries. These injuries include everything from walking into traffic while texting to falling off a bridge while on the cell phone.
- The use of headphones—with the advent of the I-Pod and music capable smartphones, more and more walkers listen to music on their daily treks. While this can be relaxing after a long day at work or an invigorating work out motivator, it can turn deadly when your headphones prevent you from hearing an approaching vehicle.
- Walking drunk—while it is safer to walk home than drive after having a few cocktails, there are still risks involved in drunk walking. In fact, at least one study found that 15% of all injured pedestrians consumed alcohol before their accidents. Alcohol consumption diminishes one’s awareness and leads to decreased reaction time, which can be dangerous when walking near vehicles.
Giddens Law Firm has represented pedestrian victims for over 20 years. Due to the sheer difference in size between a pedestrian and a vehicle, pedestrian accidents often involve serious injury or even death. For this reason, you need an experienced, aggressive accident attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve due to your pedestrian accident. At John D. Giddens Law Firm, we pride ourselves on our dedication to client recovery. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.