This blog entry will, no doubt, reveal a fondness for statistics. Numbers can help us understand pedestrian accidents better and can give hints as to factors that contribute to traffic tragedies. We find statistics immensely useful in our practice. Nonetheless, our law firm is committed to understanding each of our clients as a unique individual with a unique story. A distinct advantage to employing a small local law firm is the ability to approach each client as a person, not a number.
Police in Springfield, a city in Florida's Bay County, reported that a weekend motor vehicle collision left a pedestrian in serious condition. According to WJHG, police arrived at the intersection of Highway 22 and School Avenue just after 8 P.M. on Saturday. Officials say it is not clear whether the female pedestrian was on the sidewalk or in the road, although their early instinct is that she had been trying to cross the road when a car struck her. Neither of the two vehicle occupants was hurt, but the pedestrian suffered severe injuries and was taken to Bay Medical Center. Charges are pending and an investigation is ongoing.
The question "Who is most at risk for pedestrian accidents?" can be answered from many different points of view. In terms of age, there seems to be an elevated risk at both ends of the age spectrum. The CDC's Pedestrian Safety Fact Sheet ("CC") uses 2010 data to conclude people ages 65 and older account for 19% of pedestrian deaths and 11% of injured pedestrians. For the 5 to 9 year old age group, a full 1/5th (or 1 in 5) of those killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ("NHTSA") Pedestrian Fact Sheet (released April 2014, based on data from 2012) adds that children ages 15 and under accounted for only 6 percent of pedestrian deaths but 18% of injuries. For 2012, the average age of fatally injured pedestrians was 46, a number that has held steady in the past decade. In contrast, the age of pedestrians injured in crashes has been steadily increasing and was 35.
Another part of "who" looks at the pedestrian's behavior prior to the crash. The CDC data shows that one party, either the pedestrian or the driver, was impaired by alcohol in 47% of pedestrian versus vehicle accidents in 2012. One-third (33%) of the involved pedestrians had a BAC at or over .08, the legal driving limit. As a quick reminder, the principle of comparative fault means a wrongfully injured pedestrian can often recover damages even if the pedestrian's own actions contributed to the accident.
A different NHTSA piece, the "National Pedestrian Crash Report," uses 2004 data to visit the "When" question. The study finds that January 1 and October 31 are the two deadliest days for pedestrians. Further, they conclude that pedestrians are at the greatest risk for fatal crashes on the weekends and between 3 A.M. and 6 A.M., hours that may tie in to alcohol use as well as dark skies. October, November, and December are the months with the highest pedestrian fatality rate.
Statistics are, at root, a sum of unique and distinct stories. They provide useful information and help inform expert testimony or other parts of a trial. Still, we promise never to let these generalizations take the place of understanding each client as a person with an individual, unique tale to tell.
If you were walking in the Florida Panhandle region and a negligent driver hit you causing you injury, or if a loved one was injured or killed in such an incident, we can help. As a lawyer for Panama City pedestrians, Attorney Pittman knows the law and can help you understand how it applies to your unique case while working to get you money damages from the driver at fault.
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