A rash of recent pedestrian accidents across Mississippi serves to highlight the national increase in incidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles. Recently, Tony Harrison, a 42-year-old man from D’Iberville, was walking on the side of the Lamey Bridge Road at around 1:00 a.m. Harrison was struck by a vehicle. The driver of the offending car took off, but luckily Harrison was discovered and flown to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. Harrison remains in critical condition. Meanwhile, police apprehended the hit-and-run driver. They discovered the driver had only a learner’s permit, and was thus not authorized to be driving unsupervised or at this late hour of the night. The teen involved has been charged with several crimes, and it remains to be seen whether he will be prosecuted in youth court or face felony charges as an adult.
Nationwide, pedestrian-vehicle fatalities have been on the rise the past few years. This increase comes after the decades of decline. In 1975, over 7,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the U.S. By 2009, that figure had dropped to 4,100. Just two years later, however, the number again rose to 4,432. Pedestrian accidents account for 14% of all traffic related deaths nationwide. In Mississippi, over 50 pedestrians died in traffic accidents across the state, resulting in the rank of the tenth highest for pedestrian deaths.
The cause of the recent increase in the rate of pedestrian accidents is subject to much debate. Most experts agree that the following factors appear to play a role in this national problem:
- Distracted driving—according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, distracted driving leads to numerous pedestrian deaths a year. It is estimated to be the cause of 20% of all pedestrian accidents. Distracted driving has become far more of a problem in recent years, due largely to the ever increasing Smartphone and tablet technology. Drivers who do not pay attention to the road in front of them because they are talking on the cell phone, texting, emailing, web browsing, and the like, are increasingly likely not to notice those around them. Pedestrians are among the least visible and most vulnerable to crashes involving distracted drivers.
- Distracted walking—another phenomenon that has become increasingly common as technology evolves is distracted walking. Pedestrians who focus on their phones or tablets and engage in talking, texting, emailing, and the like may not hear the onslaught of approaching traffic or could even walk into harm’s way. In fact, over 1,500 pedestrians each year are treated in ER rooms across the country for cell phone related injuries, from walking into traffic to falling off bridges.
- Increased congestion—large cities are statistically home to more pedestrian fatalities than more rural areas. Drivers who run red lights, speed, and fail to stop for pedestrians pose significant threat to those walking in large cities plagued by congestion. As the U.S. population continues to grow and cities gain in residents, congestion will likely cause more pedestrian accidents.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is imperative you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. At Giddens Law Firm, we will begin by thoroughly examining the facts of the accident and ascertaining whether driver negligence lead to your injuries. Our attorney team has decades of experience representing pedestrians victims and will fight for your maximum recovery. Call the Mississippi Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Giddens Law Firm today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.