North Carolina Ranks High in Pedestrian Fatalities
According to the most recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, four states represent 43 percent of all pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. The good news is that North Carolina is not one of those four states. The bad news is that NC ranks sixth on the list, with 13 percent of the nation’s pedestrian fatalities.
Considering that even bicyclists may wear helmets, pedestrians rarely wear protective gear of any type. As such, our Charlotte wrongful death attorneys warn that they are likely to be the most vulnerable individuals when they interact with virtually any type of vehicle on the roads and even on sidewalks.
Motorists and Pedestrians Share the Responsibility for Walkers’ Safety
When pedestrian fatalities or severe injuries occur due to altercations with motor vehicles, any party can be fully or partially liable, often because they are not aware of the rules of the road that are designed to protect everyone who shares the road. This why North Carolina initiated the Watch For Me NC program, which is designed to inform the walking, bicycling and driving public while getting law enforcement more involved in the effort.
By 2015, 16 communities participated in the program, and law enforcement reported their preventive contributions as follows:
- 355 drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians received warnings, and 148 more received citations.
- 725 pedestrians who failed to use crosswalks received warnings, and another 32 received citations.
- 236 bicyclists who failed to use signals received warnings, and 68 more received citations.
These numbers appear to indicate that everyone using the roads can be culpable for risking pedestrian safety — and they all can do better when it comes to obeying the rules of the road. While everyone can receive warnings and citations, however, the pedestrians are most likely to sustain severe injuries, with bicyclists ranking a close second place in this regard.
Less Protection Requires More Care
Since pedestrians are at greatest risk, they should always err on the side of caution when walking in streets or crossing. Knowing that a motorist failed to yield right of way at a crosswalk or that the pedestrian signal was active is of little comfort to hospitalized pedestrian accident victims and their families.
Identifying and proving the true causes of an accident can be challenging. Motorists are often at fault for pedestrian accidents because they failed to notice individuals on foot. However, in all too many cases, pedestrian victims have perished, or they may be in no condition to supply vital information that can show liability on the part of motorists.
Even when motorists or their insurers should pay the expenses related to pedestrian injuries and fatalities, compelling evidence is needed to hold them accountable. Accident victims or their families need to seek legal support as soon as possible to help preserve the vital evidence needed to support their claims. Call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form.