Walking is often billed as a healthy, green alternative to driving. While it is great exercise and great for the planet, pedestrians are also at a serious disadvantage on Alabama's roadways. Across the United States, pedestrian death rates are at an all-time high, and they do not seem to be going down any time soon.
Whether you choose to walk because you enjoy it or out of financial necessity, it is important to understand the associated risks of being a pedestrian. While this can help keep you stay safer, nothing can fully protect you from the dangerous behavior of a negligent driver, unfortunately.
Death rates for pedestrians are at all-time highs
The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that pedestrian deaths are at a 25-year high. In 2017 alone, 6,000 pedestrians died in accidents. That year capped off a steady 27 percent fatality increase between 2007 and 2016. These rates are in stark contrast to the overall traffic fatalities, which actually decreased 14 percent during that same period of time.
The rise in pedestrian fatalities is supposedly slowing down, but this is not necessarily great news. Death rates are holding steady, leaving you and many other pedestrians at a relatively high risk for both serious injury and death. Some experts attribute the increase to economic growth and low gas prices, which put more vehicles on the road.
Who is at risk?
While a careless driver could hit and kill nearly any pedestrian, certain factors put some people at more risk than others. Some of those risk factors include age and the time of day at which a person is traveling by foot. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable in these types of collisions. Whether in the early hours of the morning or at night, walking in the dark also puts you at a higher risk for a fatal pedestrian accident.
Where you live also affects your risk factor. The GHSA found that individuals living below the poverty line, the elderly, and people without health insurance are more likely to reside in areas that are not conducive to walking. Therefore, people who may be walking because they lack access to other reliable means of transportation may also be some of the most at risk.
Distracted drivers are negligent drivers
The Active Transportation Alliance reports that distractions are the third most common cause of pedestrian fatalities. Unfortunately, some Alabama drivers prioritize checking their phone over the safety and well-being of everyone else on the road.
If you survived a collision with a negligent driver in Alabama, you are probably already struggling with the long-term effects of serious injuries. Aside from the physical pain and suffering, there are also medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma that most victims deal with. To help address these damages, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the driver, holding him or her responsible for those negligent actions.