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Federal agencies hope to prevent and avoid pedestrian accidents

Pedestrians are inherently vulnerable in Pennsylvania and across the nation. This is especially true for certain segments of society including the elderly and college students like those in State College. When there is a collision between an automobile and a pedestrian, it is almost a given that the person who is not protected by a vehicle of his or her own will suffer some form of injury. If they are lucky, the injuries will be minor. However, there can be catastrophic injuries and even death. This frequently hinges on the circumstances, the speed of the vehicle and the kind of car the person was driving.

The federal government is crafting strategies to make the roads safer for pedestrians. Their rhetoric includes a “declaration of war” on pedestrian fatalities. The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking the lead in this endeavor. According to the U.S. DOT, the decade-long reduction in road fatalities between 2008 and 2018 did not extend to pedestrians. In 2018, there were nearly 6,300 pedestrian deaths. This was an increase of 53% in that span. There were ominous projections from the Governors Highway Safety Association. GHSA had said that there would likely be a 5% increase for 2019 based on the available statistics over the first half of the year. Once the numbers were tallied, there was a slight improvement with a 2% reduction.

Positives aside, pedestrians are always in jeopardy of being hurt or losing their lives in a collision with a car or truck. Another consideration is the current health situation. It has led to more pedestrians being on the streets, increasing the volume of pedestrians and possibly adding to the risk. Despite fewer vehicles having been on the road in recent months, the incremental return to normal may spark more pedestrian accidents.

Proposals include lower speed limits, putting up barriers and designating some streets solely for pedestrians. More people in general were walking in recent years even during normal times. The Federal Highway Administration cited research for greater pedestrian safety. Sidewalk installation where there were no sidewalks can lower fatalities by 90%. Crosswalk beacons could lower deaths by 70%. Giving pedestrians longer to cross before the light changes may lower fatalities by 60%.

The near-future is still a relative unknown for people of all ages. Children, college students, adults and elderly people should be cognizant of the implementation of reopening strategies. Regardless, pedestrians who are simply minding their own business could find themselves hospitalized and in need of treatment, surgical procedures and long-term care after being hit by a motor vehicle. Head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, internal damage, cuts, lost limbs and a drastically altered future can accompany pedestrian accidents.

Drivers commonly hit pedestrians when they are distracted, under the influence, speeding, behaving recklessly, failing to follow the law requiring them to yield, driving drowsy and for other reasons. After pedestrian accidents, people may need help to cover their medical costs, lost income and pain and suffering. Discussing the case with experienced professionals may help with the necessary steps to be compensated.