Crossing the street can be dangerous, even if you look both ways. According to
the National Safety Council, 5,900 pedestrians died in 1998, and in 30 percent
of those cases, the victims were crossing the street. Many thousands more were
Determining who is negligent in pedestrian cases can be tricky. Many factors
must be taken into account: Were you paying attention to traffic when you
crossed?. Were you jaywalking or crossing in a designated crosswalk? Did the
car run a red light? If possible, you should try to get witnesses who can
verify your account of the accident.
In general, pedestrians have the right of way, unless they cross the street in
non-designated areas or against crossing signals. M.C.L.
� 257.613(2)(a). If a child is the one who ran out into the street, and if
there is a school or playground nearby, the driver may have been aware that
children were in the area. This can be used to show the driver wasn't taking
proper precautions to avoid an accident. In addition, it may be possible to
show that the child wasn�t properly supervised or that adequate crossing
assistance was not provided.
A third party can also be responsible in pedestrian accidents. If a crossing
signal or traffic light malfunctioned, it may be possible to hold the
municipality responsible for failing to adequately maintain or repair the light.
Pedestrian Injury Data
In 1998 in the United States, 5,220 pedestrians died from traffic-related
injuries and another 69,000 pedestrians sustained non-fatal injuries.
Pedestrian fatalities are the second-leading cause of motor vehicle-related
deaths, following occupant fatalities. Pedestrian-related fatalities account for
about 13% of all motor vehicle-related deaths.
On average, one pedestrian in the United States is killed in a traffic crash
every 101 minutes.
Hit-and-run pedestrian crashes account for one out of every six pedestrian
The situation is improving. Pedestrian deaths, expressed as a rate per 100,000
people, has decreased 43% from 1975 to 1998. Factors contributing to this
decrease may include more and better sidewalks, pedestrian paths, playgrounds
away from streets, one-way traffic flow, and restricted on-street parking. Some
of the reduction is likely due to the decreasing amount of time Americans spend
Alcohol is a major factor in adult pedestrian deaths. In 1998, about one-third
of pedestrians 16 years of age or older who were killed by a motor vehicle were
legally intoxicated with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.10 % or more.1
Looking only at nighttime crashes, the percentage of pedestrians who were
legally intoxicated jumps to 52%.
In 46% of traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality during 1998,
either the driver or the pedestrian had a measurable blood alcohol level.
Children are at risk for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In 1998, children
15 years and younger represented 23% of the total population and accounted for
30% of all nonfatal pedestrian injuries, 11% of all pedestrian fatalities, and
18% of non-traffic related fatalities (this includes incidents in drive-ways and
other non-public roads). Among children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were
killed in traffic crashes, 25% were pedestrians.
In 1998, adults 70 years and older comprised 9% of the population and accounted
for 18% of all pedestrian fatalities. The death rate for this group, 4.57 per
100,000 people, is the highest of any age group.
In 1998, the pedestrian fatality rate for males was more than twice that for
females. Non-fatal injury rates for male pedestrians were also higher; the
pedestrian injury rate, per 100,000 people, was 31 for males and 21 for females.
In 1997, the pedestrian fatality rate for blacks was nearly twice that for
whites; for American Indian and Native Alaskan populations, the fatality rate
was close to three times the rate for whites. Researchers believe that these
rate differences are due, in part, to differences in walking patterns. The
Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey in 1995 found that blacks walk 82%
more than whites. Environmental and socioeconomic factors are also likely
contributors to these rate differences.
In 1998, more pedestrian fatalities occurred on Fridays and Saturdays than on
any other day of the week.
In 1998, 46% of pedestrian deaths occurred between 6:00 pm and midnight. Among
children under 16 years old, 44% of the pedestrian fatalities in 1998 occurred
between 4:00 and 8:00 pm.
In 1998, 69% of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas. Case fatality rates,
however, are higher in rural areas -- for nearly all age groups. Researchers
have suggested that these higher fatality rates may be due to higher driving
speeds (greater impact during a crash), and less immediate access to emergency
In 1998, 38% of pedestrian deaths among people 65 years and older and 14% of
pedestrian deaths among children 4 years old and younger took place at an
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly
to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable
physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you
or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Buchanan & Buchanan, P.L.C.
now at (616) 458-2464 or Toll Free: (800) 272-4080 or CLICK
HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of
charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee
basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary
award or recovery of funds. Don�t delay! You may have a valid claim and be
entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before
the statute of limitations expires.