Automobile technology is helping to reduce pedestrian fatalities, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
According to the IIHS study, the two most likely scenarios for a vehicle hitting a pedestrian are when pedestrians cross the street and when vehicles are coming straight at them. The Institute feels strongly that vehicles equipped with forward collision warning systems with pedestrian detection can greatly reduce these types of collisions. This technology exists and can be found on several models including the Volvo S60 sedan. Volvo feels this technology has the potential to decrease pedestrian deaths by about 24 percent if installed in all vehicles. Several European automakers including Subaru, BMW, Audi and Mercedes are making vehicle design improvements to help reduce injuries to pedestrians. Technology is available today that recognizes bicyclists and pedestrians and applies the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t react to a situation. There is even night vision technology that will protect pedestrians at night.
In 2009, pedestrian’s deaths accounted for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities according to
the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). They report that 4,092 pedestrians died in traffic accidents and an additional 59,000 were injured. Of Florida’s 2,558 traffic fatalities, 466 were pedestrians, ranking them second only to California for being the deadliest state for pedestrians.
Here are some helpful safety tips to remember from walkinginfo.org:
Make yourself visible to drivers.
-Wear reflective material and bright colored clothing.
-Always carry a flashlight if go you for a walk at night.
-Always cross the street in an area that drivers can easily see you.
-Never let obstacles like parked cars or hedges block your view before crossing the street.
Avoid dangerous behaviors.
-Always use the sidewalk.
-Never walk if you are impaired, get a ride.
-Make eye contact with the driver; never assume a driver sees you.
-Always look before you cross the street; you should not rely totally on pedestrian signals.
-Pay attention to backup lights or engine noise in or near parking lots and on-street parking spaces.
Look before you step.
-When possible cross streets at marked intersections or crosswalks.
-Obey WALK/DON’T WALK signs.
-Before crossing any road look left, right, and left again.
-Make sure ALL lanes you must cross are safe before proceeding. Never assume all drivers see you when there are multiple lanes to cross.
-Never talk on the phone or wear headphones while crossing the street
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, contact the West Palm Beach Law Offices of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-800-529-2368.