Dangers abound for pedestrians in Washington D.C.

Whether on foot for exercise, crossing a street from one building to another or walking across a parking lot, pedestrians face great risks every day. News headlines recounting pedestrian accidents are all too easy to find. One recent report from the local Washington D.C. NBC news station tell of a woman who remains in critical condition after being hit twice by a dump trunk in downtown Washington D.C. According to sources, the pedestrian was hit while in the crosswalk zone.

How often do pedestrian accidents occur?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States experiences one pedestrian death every other hour. Smart Growth America's recent report, Dangerous by Design 2014, details a steady increase in pedestrian deaths from motor vehicle accidents in recent years. Between 2003 and 2012, the number of pedestrians who lost their lives outnumbered those who died due to natural disasters by 16 times.

How many people are affected in Washington D.C.?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's records from 2012 show that nearly 50 percent of all vehicular fatalities in Washington D.C. that year were pedestrians. Of the 15 deaths in total, seven were pedestrians.

Looking at nearby counties, more 2012 numbers corroborate the concerns that all pedestrians should share:

  • In all of Virginia, pedestrian deaths accounted for 12.6 percent of vehicular deaths.
  • In Fairfax County, the pedestrian deaths comprised 13 percent of all vehicular deaths while in Arlington County four people died in automobile accidents-all of them pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian deaths made up 19 percent of all vehicular fatalities in the entire state of Maryland.
  • In Prince Georges County, 26.5 percent of all traffic deaths were pedestrians.
  • In Montgomery County, 44 percent of all traffic deaths were pedestrians.

Between Washington D.C., Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince Georges County and Montgomery County, almost 17 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents were pedestrians.

Can pedestrians stay safe?

Risks are a part of life but improving safety is always important. Pedestrians can take their safety seriously. Walking against traffic when no sidewalks are available, wearing bright or reflective clothing and obeying all traffic laws are some of the ways to help keep themselves safe when on the roads.

Even the best efforts are not always enough to prevent an accident. Anyone who has been hurt in a pedestrian accident or who has lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Compensation is the right of any injury accident victim and proper legal knowledge can help to achieve that.