Whether you’re walking to school, work, the grocery store, or the park, you should feel safe—but for many pedestrians, that simply isn’t the case. It’s hard to say that it’s just an issue of unsafe driving or reckless pedestrians, though, since both play a role in this growing issue. Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in Alabama for years, and officials are worried.
The Statistics Are Unsettling
The numbers don’t lie. Pedestrian accidents are a big problem in Alabama, even more than they are across the rest of the country. WBRC reports that 2022 saw over 760 pedestrian crashes, at least 125 of which were fatal. This is up from 725 crashes in 2020 and 97 fatalities.
The fact is that the numbers have been alarming for several years. The highest number of pedestrian accidents came in 2016 when there were 932 accidents and 122 fatalities. This raises another question: if 2021 had fewer total crashes, why did it have more fatalities than any year in recent history? Between 2011 and 2020, pedestrian fatalities ranged from 57 to 122.
Distracted Pedestrians and Drivers May Be to Blame
Until there’s more evidence available, including full statistics from 2021 and beyond, it’s difficult to know what’s causing this massive amount of pedestrian accidents. However, it’s safe to say that blame doesn’t fall squarely on pedestrians or drivers. Both are more likely to be distracted than they were in years past, thanks to the growing availability and accessibility of touchscreen car devices and smartphones.
Per Drive Safe Alabama, pedestrians are more likely to be hit by a car when distracted by smartphones. They also note that 62% of fatal pedestrian crashes in 2020 were caused by pedestrians.
The recommendations come as no surprise to anyone who knows a little bit about road safety but they are unlikely to be followed by those who most need to hear them. Pedestrians should avoid noise-canceling headphones and earbuds, as well as limit the use of their smartphones while walking. Drivers should never use smartphones, in-car infotainment, or other distracting devices while behind the wheel.
Who’s Most Affected?
Drive Safe Alabama also maintains statistics on which populations are most affected by the increase in pedestrian accidents and fatalities. In 2020, the groups that saw the most pedestrian accidents were aged 31-60. Fatalities were also most common in this age range.
One alarming trend is how skewed the injury rates are for the young and the elderly. Despite making up a relatively small portion of total pedestrian accidents, children aged 0-15 and elderly pedestrians older than 71 make up a significant portion of pedestrian injuries.
What to Do After an Accident
Every single pedestrian accident should be reported to the police, and victims should always seek medical attention. Pedestrians have no protection against vehicles, and they are far more likely to be injured than victims in other types of crashes. Even a pedestrian accident at a low speed could leave a victim with serious injuries.
The next step: call a pedestrian accident attorney. While both pedestrians and drivers can cause accidents, pedestrians who suspect that the driver may have caused the crash may be entitled to compensation.
However, insurance companies work hard to avoid paying fair compensation for these accidents. They know that pedestrian accidents can often be incredibly expensive, and their goal is to protect their profit margins at any cost. With an attorney on your side, you can avoid unnecessary communication with the insurance company and focus on your recovery.