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Road design flaws can lead to pedestrian accidents

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In February 2014, a woman was crossing an intersection in Johnson City when a dumpster truck struck her. According to WCYB, the woman died as a result of the incident, leaving behind a son and two young grandchildren. The family is considering filing a lawsuit, as the accident happened in daylight and in a crosswalk.

Unfortunately, traffic patterns and roadways are not pedestrian-friendly, any Tennessee pedestrian accident attorney would know. In order to maintain the safety of everyone on the road, there must be fundamental changes.

By the numbers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012, roughly 76,000 people were injured and more than 4,700 killed as a result of getting hit by a car or other traffic incident. This actually reflects an increase in the number of pedestrian accidents over previous years.

Outlining the problem

Despite the rise in national numbers, Smart Growth America notes that the number of pedestrian accidents that happen across Tennessee has decreased. However, even one incident is one too many. The organization points out that people who are on foot are at greater risk when they are traversing arterial roads, which move the most possible traffic with the least amount of delay. These roads are often main streets in communities, prompting more foot traffic alongside motor vehicle traffic.

As a Tennessee pedestrian accident attorney may have seen, the majority of such fatal incidents occur on these roads. This is largely due to the following:

  • Vehicles traveling at a high speed
  • Narrow or dangerous sidewalks
  • Sidewalks and curb ramps that are not accessible for people with disabilities

Smart Growth America notes that rectifying these issues can lead to a decrease in pedestrian accidents. Wider sidewalks, slowing traffic and countdown signals at intersections can improve the safety of those on foot.

Accident prevention

Road design flaws are not the only cause of pedestrian accidents. The NHTSA points out that roughly one-third of all incidents occur between 8 p.m. and midnight, when visibility is low. What's more, alcohol is involved in roughly half of all traffic-related pedestrian fatalities.

To maximize safety, experts recommend that pedestrians always walk on a sidewalk and facing traffic. If there is no sidewalk, people should travel on the shoulder as far away from traffic as possible. While on the road, pedestrians should not use mobile devices, headphones or any other distraction.

At the same time, drivers must commit to an awareness of their surroundings. In hard-to-see conditions, motorists must be especially vigilant and know that pedestrians may not walk where they should. Lastly, drivers should drive cautiously in school zones and neighborhoods where foot traffic is heavy.

Anyone with questions regarding this matter should consult with a Tennessee pedestrian accident attorney.

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