PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: Virginia Pedestrian Accident Statistics and Safety Tips

There were over 1700 pedestrian accidents in the state of Virginia in 2011. When a pedestrian is hit by a car, life threatening injuries or death often occur because the victim doesn’t have the protection of being inside a vehicle with air bags or seat belts. In many of these cases, the pedestrian accidents could have been prevented if the drivers had followed some simple safety rules.

Pedestrian accidents can be caused by a wide variety of circumstances. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include driver distractions such as talking on a cell phone, aggressive driving such as speeding, drivers who are drinking impaired, and driver errors (such as drivers who hit pedestrians while backing up their cars). Taking a few extra precautions while driving can save someone from serious injury or even save their life.

Most car crashes that involve pedestrians result in the pedestrian suffering the consequences. According to data from the Virginia Highway Safety Office, in 2011 there were 1,705 crashes involving pedestrians in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which was about 1.4% of  total traffic crashes reported.  However, a total of 1,712 pedestrians were injured form crashes and 75 were killed in 2011.  These pedestrian traffic fatalities represented about 9.8% of all traffic fatalities during that time, so clearly pedestrian accidents are generally more serious, as might be expected.[1]

Drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians at all times while traveling. Avoid distractions while driving that can take your eyes off the road. Never use your cell phone while driving.  Don’t eat or drink while driving, and don’t drink when you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications.  Pay attention to your driving and scan the road ahead of you for potential pedestrians. Yield to all pedestrians crossing at an intersection even if that person is not using a marked crosswalk or is still crossing when the traffic light changes.

People sometimes walk or stand in unpredictable places, so always be prepared to yield to pedestrians. Don’t assume that people are following safety rules or paying attention.  Don’t assume that a pedestrian will look at the last moment and see your car.  When you see a pedestrian, especially a child, be extra cautious and be prepared to stop. Some safety driving tips include obeying all speed limit signs and coming to a complete stop at all stop lights and stop signs. Use extra caution when driving near school bus stops, driving through parking lots, driving through neighborhoods with small children, or driving past joggers and bicyclists.

Contact an experienced attorney right away if you, or a member of your family, has been the victim of a pedestrian accident. It is not always easy to determine who is at fault in a pedestrian accident case. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer will be familiar with state statutes, case law and local ordinances that may help prove your case so that you can recover fair compensation for your injuries and loss.   At Allen and Allen, we have many experienced lawyers who can advise you on your rights, and the initial consultation is always free.

About the Author: Christopher Guedri is a personal injury attorney in the Richmond office of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He handles cases in Virginia and across the US. He has handled complicated tractor trailer accident cases, bus accident cases and commercial truck accident cases and has won multi-million dollar verdicts over his career. In a career spanning over 30 years, he has been recognized by his peers as a superb litigator, Chris has been listed in the book Best Lawyers in America since 1995. More recently, he was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization of attorneys who are elected to membership based on their reputation for excellence. He has been included among “Legal Elite Best Lawyers in Virginia” by Virginia Business Magazine.

[1] For more information and details about pedestrian accidents and other 2011 Virginia traffic crashes, see the Virginia Highway Safety Office information at ?