Fatal Pedestrian Crashes and SUVs

SUV Accidents

Increasingly, pedestrians are being killed by SUVs instead of by passenger cars such as sedans and hatchbacks. In the last decade, the rate of pedestrian deaths in SUV collisions has shot up 81 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS also noted in their 2018 study that high-horsepower vehicles, like SUVs and light trucks, are more likely to be involved in fatal pedestrian collisions. In the decade previous to 2009, pedestrian deaths had been dropping. What could be causing such a steep rise in the pedestrian death rate, and why are SUVs implicated? Contributing Factors Pedestrian fatalities have climbed to nearly 6,000 a year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly a 50 percent increase since 2009. Pedestrian deaths for 2016 reached heights they had not seen since 1990. Some of the factors contributing to the higher rate of pedestrian deaths and SUVs include: Automotive design. SUVs are designed differently than passenger cars. They have a blunter front end, and their increased height means pedestrians are struck higher on their body, not on their legs. This fact reduces the possibility that a pedestrian can roll off a vehicle and reduce their[…..]

Preventing Pedestrian Deaths with Optical Illusions

Optical Illusion

Pedestrian deaths have not decreased in recent years, despite expectations that they might because of a general down-trend in traffic fatalities. From 2003 through 2012, 47,025 persons on foot died across our nation. These deaths represented 12.3 percent of all traffic fatalities over the decade. But in 2012 alone, 15 percent of all traffic fatalities were pedestrians. Actual walking traffic deaths in 2010 were 4,280; but by 2011, the number had increased to 4,432. It increased again in 2012 — to 4,743. In a more recent report spanning 2005 through 2014, Maryland ranked 15th among all states for pedestrian danger, with total pedestrian deaths of 1,053 resulting in a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 77.8. Florida was No. 1 in pedestrian danger, with a PDI of 177 and 5,142 fatalities. (Higher PDI numbers mean greater danger.) Focusing locally, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area ranked 55th in pedestrian danger out of 104 metro areas, with 470 deaths and a PDI of 65.7. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL, was first, with a PDI of 283.1 and 165 deaths. For all of these statistics, the age group most at risk was 65 and over. Technology to the Rescue Advances in technology have brought some possible[…..]

Crosswalks: How Safe Are You?

Maryland Crosswalk Accident Lawyer

Crosswalks can give us an inflated sense of security because we believe that cars will automatically stop when we are standing in one. In many locations, the law says that cars are supposed to stop for persons in a crosswalk. In marked crosswalks in Maryland, that is the law. But other situations exist where vehicles in our state have the right of way. Maryland Pedestrians in Danger The year 2016 saw eight pedestrian deaths in Montgomery County and 16 in Prince George’s County. From 2005 through 2014, our state reported 1,053 pedestrian deaths. Nationally, the Governors Highway Safety Association stated that the first half of 2016 registered an estimated 11 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities over 2015. Maryland is ranked 15th in the U.S. when it comes to pedestrian dangers. Among the U.S. metro areas, Baltimore was listed as the 55th most dangerous city for pedestrians, while nearby Washington, D.C., was 49th. Crosswalk Laws in Maryland A pedestrian’s right of way in Maryland crosswalks is partially addressed in state law section 21-502; the section does not cover situations where a traffic control signal is operating or where a tunnel or overhead crossing is in place. What 21-502 does address is[…..]

Watching Traffic Like a HAWK

Pedestrian Injuries

Earlier in 2017, the Maryland state legislature was considering bills that would have increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in our state, calling for special traffic signals where trails intersect state highways. On such roads, vehicles often travel faster than 45 mph in the areas with crossings used by both pedestrians and cyclists. One problematic area is the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Turkey Branch Parkway in Montgomery County. Two bicyclists have been fatally struck at that intersection recently: Frank Towers, in December 2015, and Mauricio Osorio, in July 2016. Unfortunately, all the bills died in legislative committee during March 2017. Those who advocated for the bills believe that the state of Maryland is shortchanging safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bicyclists Are No Match The use of bicycles, especially as commuter vehicles, has been growing in popularity. But it’s no contest when it comes to a crash involving a car or truck and a bicycle—those on bikes have virtually no protection. Even for cyclists wearing helmets, about three-fourths of serious injuries and deaths are due to head and brain trauma. An increase in bicycle usage plus heavier vehicular traffic means that bicyclist fatalities have been going up—they doubled from[…..]

Don’t Let Your Kids Be Pedtextrians

Maryland Pedtextrians Attorney

We’re heading into the time of year when the sweet days of summer give way to hectic school days. And with this change comes renewed anxieties about keeping our kids safe, especially as they travel to and from school. If your child carries a cell phone, they—and maybe even you—may need to be educated on the dangers of being a pedtextrian. What’s a pedtextrian? It’s someone who walks and texts on their phone at the same time, and doing so is dangerous to your child’s health. It’s such a concern that the National Safety Council wants all parents to make sure their children have their heads up but their phones down while they are walking to and from bus stops and school. Which Kids Are Most at Risk? It used to be that kids aged 5 to 9 were in greater danger of being hit by a vehicle than any other age group 18 and under. It’s good news that the death rate for children in this age group has gone down more than 50 percent over the past 20 years. However, don’t celebrate just yet. Every day in the U.S., 61 kids are struck by cars. These accidents happen[…..]

Walk This Way? No.

Distracted at the wheel

Distracted Driving Awareness Month happens during April every year, and the National Safety Council’s latest campaign wants you to put down that device and #TakeBackYourDrive. Not only that, the NSC wants you to take back your walk, too, if you are one of the people who likes to text or talk on the phone while they walk down the street. Pedestrian Fatalities Rising Are you a walker? Perhaps in Baltimore you walk a great deal, or you walk for exercise on a daily basis. Have you ever had the experience of entering a crosswalk while a driver on their phone is turning “right on red,” and nearly running you over? In the U.S. each day during 2013, at least 8 people died and over 1,100 were injured in all distracted driving crashes, but it’s the pedestrian numbers that might catch your eye. Distracted-driver accidents with pedestrians killed 384 persons, and predictions are that the numbers are rising by as much as ten percent, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. During the first six months of 2015, 40 pedestrians died here in Maryland, with a fatality rate that placed us sixteenth out of 50 states plus D.C., and higher than[…..]

Resolving To Drive Safely In 2015

Safe Driving

As New Year’s Day approaches, many of us look back at the past year and resolve to do things a little differently over the next twelve months. Less red meat, more fish and veggies. Less lounging, more working out. Less angst, more peace. It’s a good time, too, to resolve to give up some behaviors that endanger ourselves and others sharing the highway. Here are a few suggestions from Steve Heisler, The Injury Lawyer: Don’t drink and drive. In 2012, 160 Marylanders lost their lives in drunk driving car crashes. If you plan on drinking – on New Year’s Eve or any other time — make sure you have a designated driver or call a taxi. Don’t use a cell phone while behind the wheel. Not only will this keep you safer, it will keep money in your pocket as using a handheld cell phone is a primary offense in Maryland and could subject you to a fine of up to $160. Don’t break the speed limit. In 2014 Maryland considered, and rejected, the idea of raising the speed limit to 70 mph on some highways – don’t drive as if you thought the measure passed. Wear your seat belt[…..]

Road Shoulders Can Be Deadly

Bicycle Accident Injury

The family and friends of a 24-year-old Baltimore woman are mourning her death on Friday, June 13. Jamie Roberts, a Catholic University basketball coach, was part of a group on a cross-country charity bicycle ride, “4-K for Cancer,” from Baltimore to Portland. Having left Baltimore on June 1, the bicyclists were on a state highway near Lexington, Kentucky, when the tragic accident occurred. The five riders had pulled onto the side of the road to do maintenance on their bikes when a pick-up truck hit and killed Jamie and injured another rider. The Scott County Sheriff described the highway as “a very rural road, not much in the way of shoulders, a lot of curves and hills which again makes it dangerous.” The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing. Interstate Highway Risks The shoulder of the road is a dangerous place for anyone to be. And that applies to interstate highways as well as country roads. According to the AAA, approximately 12% of all interstate highway fatalities are pedestrians in the roadway or on the shoulder. Often these are drivers who have stopped to fix a flat tire. In January a drunk driver hit and killed a[…..]

UMD College Student Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian Injuries

One stretch of Route 1 in College Park, Maryland, has become deadly for University of Maryland students trying to cross the four-lane highway. Within the past ten months there have been four serious pedestrian traffic accidents there, two of them fatal, prompting the President of the University to write an online letter to the community on April 23, 2014, asking for suggestions on how to make the area safer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States there is one crash-related pedestrian death every 2 hours and a pedestrian injury every 8 minutes. Oftentimes the accident involves alcohol use, by either the driver or the pedestrian. Here’s how the most recent UMD accidents occurred: On Friday, January 17, 2014, 22-year-old Cory Hubbard was crossing Baltimore Avenue at U.S. 1 near Knox Road around 2 a.m. when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, who eventually turned himself in. Hubbard was not in a crosswalk. News accounts at the time said he had been drinking in one of the nearby neighborhood bars and was walking back to his car. On Friday, April 11, 2014, 23-year-old Carlos Pacanins was killed at the same intersection around 10:30 p.m.[…..]

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

In the midst of a lot of nasty winter weather, we’ve been reminded of how dangerous roads can be for drivers. Black ice, snow, freezing rain, downed power lines, traffic signal outages – all of these can spell disaster for those on the roads around Baltimore. But a recent accident demonstrates the dangers pedestrians face this time of year as well. An 18-year-old woman was struck by a State Highway Administration salt truck around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, on Creswell Road in Bel Air. Harford County fire and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene. The victim suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Pedestrians are always at risk, but almost 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen at night. In 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,432 pedestrians died in traffic crashes. On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and one is injured every eight minutes. The Maryland Department of Transportation offers these safety tips for pedestrians: Walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Cross the street[…..]