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Fatal pedestrian statistics reveal who is most vulnerable

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released statistics pertaining to fatal pedestrian traffic accidents. From the NHTSA's statistics, it is possible to draw inferences regarding who may be at greatest risk when walking near roads and streets.

The vast majority of fatal pedestrian accidents, 73 percent, occurred in urban areas with only 27 percent of such accidents occurring in rural areas. Also, as you may expect, an overwhelming percentage of pedestrian fatalities resulted from accidents occurring when it was dark outside, with the most dangerous time period being from 6 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

One of the more dismaying statistics involves the age of fatal accident victims. A full 21 percent of those killed were age 14 and younger. The fatality rates were also higher among those 40 years of age and up than among those in younger age groups. Perhaps most surprisingly, more than twice as many male pedestrians suffered fatal injuries than female pedestrians.

There are many ways these statistics can be interpreted. Certainly they seem to demonstrate the importance of teaching your children traffic safety rules. Also, the numbers tell us it is a good idea to wear bright clothing when walking at night. None of the statistics convey the true impact of losing a loved one in a pedestrian-auto accident.

Motorists must always stay alert when driving in areas frequented by pedestrians. A pedestrian, whether on foot, bicycle or in a wheelchair, is completely exposed, and the impact of a moving vehicle can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. If you have lost a loved one due to the acts of a negligent driver, you may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The attorney could help you determine which party or parties are liable and work to help you get appropriate compensation for your loss.

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