A new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found that land use played a role in pedestrian freeway fatalities. According to a report in Forbes.com, the study showed that more than 800 people are killed each year nationwide in traffic accidents on interstates and other high-speed controlled-access roadways. Those fatalities rose 60% from 2009 to 2018, at a faster rate than overall pedestrian deaths nationwide during the same period, which increased 53%. Most people were killed after attempting to traverse freeways in urban areas.
What the Study Shows
The study cited better lighting, physical barriers preventing people on foot from crossing at road level, and properly-designed overpasses and underpasses that allow for a safe crossing, as critical measures that could greatly help reduce the death toll. Researchers also found that localities with residential communities across the freeway from shopping centers, bus stations or entertainment districts should consider physical barriers that prevent pedestrians from crossing, especially if those centers include establishments that serve alcohol.
The study showed that about 18% of the pedestrians killed were on the freeway because of a disabled vehicle. About a third of those killed had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher and 42% were attempting to cross the freeway. Researchers zeroed in their focus on California, which not surprisingly had the largest number of people on foot who were killed crossing freeways and interstates during the study period.
They identified the types of land use on both sides of the roadway at the sites where the fatal crossings occurred. What they saw was most of them occurred where the freeway separates residential areas from commercial and other non-residential areas. Only 13% of the fatal crossing pedestrian accidents occurred in areas with residential land on both sides of the interstate or freeway. The study also showed that nationwide, a majority of these crashes occurred in urban areas at night in the dark. More than half of fatal crashes took place in areas where the speed limit was 65 mph or higher.
Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents, in general, are higher in states like California where streets are geared toward vehicular traffic as opposed to foot traffic. While it is important for pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings at all times and walk-in areas designated for pedestrians, we know that a majority of fatal pedestrian accidents occur because of negligence on the part of motorists and because of dangerous or defective roadways.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident or if you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, it is important that you contact an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you explore your legal rights and options.