Pedestrian accident risks in Pennsylvania

With spring in full force, pedestrians in Pennsylvania should learn more about the types of situations that put them at risk on the roads.

When a pedestrian in Pennsylvania is stuck by a motor vehicle, the opportunity for serious injury or even death may be present. Factors such as the size and weight of the vehicle or the speed at which the vehicle is travelling can also affect the severity of the impact on the pedestrian. Despite clear laws designed to keep them safe, many pedestrians each year continue to die in these accidents.

Records show the risk

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the course of five years shows a dangerous trend. In both 2011 and 2012, the number of pedestrians who died in automotive accidents increased over the prior years. The total number of fatalities in 2010 was 145 and in 2012 it was 163. A one-year drop in 2013 to 147 pedestrian deaths was followed by a jump again in 2014 to 161 lives lost.

Looking at Northampton County and its four neighboring counties, the reality of what pedestrians face remains grim. Between 2010 and 2014, there were 42 pedestrian deaths in Bucks County, 35 in Lehigh County, 18 in Northampton County and 11 in Monroe County. Carbon County recorded three pedestrian fatalities over these five years.

Personal passenger vehicles as well as commercial vehicles can be involved in fatal pedestrian accidents. A transit bus making a left turn ran over and pinned a pedestrian in Glenside per reports from Fox 29. The 39-year-old victim died as a result.

Problems evident everywhere

As the Brown and White reports, the challenges faced by pedestrians are evident on college campuses as well as around towns. At Lehigh University, issues include motorists failing to stop at designated crosswalks or even for stop signs.

Distracted driving is also noted to claim the lives of pedestrians and motorists alike. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight people each day in vehicular crashes. Distracted driving can result in the imposition of fines in Pennsylvania yet it still happens.

The laws in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania General Assembly explains that pedestrians always have the right of way at intersections, whether or not there is a crosswalk painted on the street. Cars are also forbidden from passing other vehicles that are waiting for a pedestrian to pass.

Pennsylvania Commutes adds that foot traffic is also legally given the right of way on sidewalks where they intersect with driveways, alleys and buildings.

Help for accident victims is important

When a pedestrian suffers injuries or dies due to the negligence of a driver, help is required. Victims or their loved ones should always talk to an attorney to understand what type of compensation may be available and how best to seek it.