Pedestrians are at an inherent disadvantage in car accidents due to the size of vehicles and lack of bodily protection. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, 16% of deadly car accidents involved pedestrians in 2021. Many of these accidents are at least partly the driver’s fault. In 2021, a driver’s failure to yield caused 34.4% of all pedestrian accidents in the state.
Inattention and careless driving cause a significant portion of pedestrian accidents. Familiarize yourself with the most common causes of pedestrian accidents to improve your safety while walking. Contact the Utah pedestrian accident lawyers at Great West Injury Law if you have suffered injuries as a pedestrian on Utah streets.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrians face about 10% risk of severe injury or death when struck by a car traveling at only 17 mph. That risk increases to 50% at 33 mph, and skyrockets to 90% at 48 mph. This data places pedestrians at serious risk if somebody speeds through a crosswalk.
Luckily, most recorded pedestrian accidents in Utah occurred at low speeds, with 12.8% of all pedestrian collisions in 2021 occurring at 5 MPH or less. However, even low speeds can seriously harm or kill pedestrians, especially vulnerable populations like children or the elderly.
It’s dangerous for everyone when a driver takes their eyes off the road for just a second, but it’s particularly dangerous for pedestrians. When drivers get distracted by texting, looking up directions, adjusting the radio, or talking with their passengers, they may fail to spot someone walking across the street or overlook a red light, causing them to hit the pedestrian. In Utah, 17 crashes occurred due to drivers disregarding traffic signals and 7 from ignoring traffic signs.
Crossing Outside of Crosswalks
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of serious pedestrian accidents happened outside of intersections, excluding areas like bike lanes and sidewalks. While most of Utah’s pedestrian accidents occurred when the pedestrian was in a marked crosswalk, the road’s passing lane was the second most common place for pedestrian accidents.
In some cases, the pedestrian bears some responsibility for the accident because they chose to jaywalk rather than use the crosswalk. However, Utah law still requires drivers to slow down to avoid hitting a pedestrian and exercise due caution on the road.
Making a Left or Right Turn
Many drivers fail to fully survey their surroundings before turning at an intersection. Sometimes they may fail to look before turning, leading to collisions with other cars or pedestrians. Other times, they check for other cars but forget to look for pedestrians before turning. Fifteen pedestrian accidents in Utah were due to improper turns in 2021.
An insurance company may reject the pedestrian’s claim for compensation by claiming the pedestrian didn’t look before crossing the street. However, drivers must give pedestrians right-of-way at marked crosswalks, so the driver is responsible for making sure the coast is clear.
When the sun goes down, pedestrians are at the greatest risk of an injury accident. The NHTSA reported that of all pedestrians killed in crashes, 77% occurred at night. Other conditions, like rain or a broken headlight, can contribute to poor visibility and endanger pedestrians.
Pedestrians can also inadvertently contribute to their lack of visibility. For example, they may wear dark colors or clothing that makes them hard to see in low light. Insurance companies may consider this as proof to deny compensation, so always wear bright or reflective clothing when walking at night.
Influence of Alcohol
When a pedestrian or drivers have been drinking, they are at a far higher risk of involvement in a collision. Data from the NHTSA suggests that pedestrians are at greater risk than drivers. In 2020, about 30% of pedestrians who died in a car accident were legally intoxicated, compared with only about 16% of drivers.
However, pedestrians lack the protection of a car, which may contribute to the higher fatality rate. In addition, Utah law generally requires drivers to give right-of-way to pedestrians in most circumstances, so the driver is still responsible for avoiding hitting them.
Get a Free Consultation from Great West Injury Law
Even a brief moment of driver negligence can leave you with severe injuries and sky-high medical bills as a pedestrian. At Great West Injury Law, we don’t want you to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. We’ll put together a case to help you win back the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation and case review so you can gain compensation to rebuild your life.