Pedestrian accidents result in billions of dollars in damages each year. Medical bills, lost time from work, and other economic and personal damages can all be a result, and in the most tragic of cases deaths occur. According to the San Francisco Injury Center, the average cost to admit an injured pedestrian to a hospital is about $80,000.
Pedestrian accidents can mean higher health and auto insurance rates. If a driver who strikes a pedestrian carries personal injury protection coverage, the pedestrian’s damages would be covered under the terms of the policy regardless of who was at fault. Even top auto insurance companies can’t help but raise rates as the number of claims rise.
Unfortunately pedestrian accident rates have been rising in recent years. For example, pedestrian accident rates have in the city of San Francisco are at a level of at least two a day. According to the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee for the city, there are more than 800 pedestrian accidents a year and these accidents result in a $76 million dollar costs for the injuries.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
We are all taught to use crosswalks, look both ways before we cross the state, and wear highly visible clothing when it is dark. But pedestrians face new threats, many of which they unintentionally cause.
According to research by Dr. Richard Lichenstein of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the number of headphone-wearing pedestrians killed or injured by moving vehicle has risen from 16 in 2004-2005 to 47 in 2010-2011. Researches found that young adult males were particularly at risk and nearly ¾ of accidents were fatal.
As more people are listing to music on MP3 players, watching videos on their smart phones or other mobile devices, more pedestrians inadvertently become involved in accidents.
Besides headphones, pedestrians also frequently are talking on the phone, surfing the web, and reading and sending messages. All of these activities can be very distracting and take a pedestrians focus off the roads.
The Risk of Hybrids
The number of hybrid cars has increased exponentially in recent years. This is great for the environment but can be bad for pedestrians. Since hybrid cars rely on quiet electric motors to help propel them, they can be more difficult to hear than combustion engine cars. As a result, studies have shown that pedestrians are involved in accidents with hybrid cars at a higher rate.
Because of this danger, some hybrid and electric cars have started to introduce external sound producers so they are easier to hear, which may help to decrease pedestrian accident rates.
Pedestrian safety is an important issue. When walking in and around streets, it is important that attention is not distracted and is being directed to all vehicles. Not only can it save lives and prevent serious injuries, but also makes good financial sense.