On March 21, 2016, 16-year-old Lylly Slayton was struck and killed by a motorist in Spokane. The accident occurred at the intersection of 2nd and Market Street in Mead. This tragic event underscores the dangers associated with pedestrian accidents. Even slow-moving vehicles can be lethal. Washington State continues to see increases in pedestrian accidents, with Spokane seeing its fair share in recent years.
How Bad is the Problem?
Car accidents account for a significant percentage of all premature deaths in America. But when it comes to fatalities, pedestrian accidents create the highest risk. Data compiled between 2008 and 2012 shows that pedestrian accidents account for a whopping 14% of all automobile-related fatalities. Indeed 332 people died in pedestrian crashes in Washington in those same five years.
What are the Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Like all automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents do not occur because of just one factor. Many factors play a role in creating the right circumstances for a pedestrian crash. However, research tells us a few things about these types of accidents.
Pedestrian Accidents are Seasonal
The majority of all fatal pedestrian crashes occur between October and March. This is likely due, in large part, to the holiday season, when people are more likely outside and enjoying festivities and holiday celebrations. The holidays also mean more alcohol consumption, both by drivers and pedestrians.
Time of Day Plays a Huge Role
More than 66% of all pedestrian accidents occur during dark hours between about 7:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. Likewise, pedestrians are far more likely to be hit on weekends – Friday and Saturday nights in particular.
Intersections are Not the Only Danger Zones
In years past, research seemed to suggest that pedestrian accidents were more likely to occur in intersections and crosswalks. This is no longer true. In fact, upwards of 58% of all pedestrian accidents occur in locations other than intersections. The single most common scenario involves a pedestrian on a roadway but not in an intersection or crosswalk.
How Much Does Alcohol Affect Pedestrian Accidents?
This is a fairly obvious contributing factor, however, it is less a matter of impaired drivers causing accidents and more a matter of impaired pedestrians. In fact, according to research by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, over half of all fatal pedestrian accidents involved an intoxicated pedestrian. Distracted driving comes in second in terms of contributing factors.
What Happens if an Impaired Pedestrian is Injured or Killed by a Motorist?
Sadly, vehicles can strike as sober and intoxicated pedestrians alike. Simply being impaired does not automatically mean the pedestrian was at fault. However, the law does take into consideration an injured person's contribution to the injury. If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident – whether car on car or pedestrian – you should understand your rights. If someone else was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Do not fall for the insurance company's attempts to reduce liability or place the blame on you. Before you sign anything, contact the West Law Firm in Spokane for a free case consultation.