Friday, August 28, 2009

The Joint Responsibility of Pedestrians and Motorists

While pedestrian safety should be a priority for all motorists, the same responsibility and due diligence goes both ways – pedestrians are just as responsible for their safety as motor vehicle drivers.

Pedestrian accidents, while not as high as other traffic accident fatalities such as rollovers, yielded 4,654 pedestrian deaths in 2007 in the United States. Also, there were 70,000 pedestrians injured in traffic crashes in 2007.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 113 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes.

Today in San Marcos, a 51-year old pedestrian was struck and killed by a truck driver when he tried to cross at mid-block. Police have preliminarily ruled it as an accident as there is no evidence enough for criminal charges against the driver.

On the other hand, the investigation is still ongoing for the death of 57-year-old female pedestrian who died when she got hit by a car when she was crossing the street in El Cajon despite the efforts of the emergency crew.

The California Highway Patrol are also now considering closing the case of the death of a Sunnyvale teen who died in a hit and run accident. 15-year-old Javier Loyola Leon was run over when he climbed onto the tow bar connecting the front and rear trailers of the gravel truck and he either jumped or fell off the tow bar and into the path of the rear trailer tires.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrians were more likely than drivers to be judged at fault in pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. As in the case of the San Marcos and El Cajon pedestrian fatalities, pedestrians were almost always judged culpable in midblock and intersection dash crashes.

This is the kind of pedestrian accident where a pedestrian who appears suddenly in the path of a vehicle. Sometimes, the driver, who has little time or room to react, cannot avoid hitting the pedestrian despite having exercised due care and caution.

The cases where a driver is considered at fault is in other crash types such as when a vehicle is turning or backing up, or when a vehicle leaves the road and strikes a pedestrian.

Pedestrian safety is a joint responsibility between the driver and the pedestrian. Just as drivers should take care and be attentive of people who cross the road, pedestrians should also be responsible for the actions and decisions which could affect their safety.