October marks pedestrian safety month in Virginia, a time to raise awareness and improve safety for pedestrians who are exposed to the dangers on the road. In an effort to reduce pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the year 2020 assigned October as National Pedestrian Safety Month. The program's goal is to educate the public with facts and safety advice that they can use to safeguard themselves and their families when on foot.
4 Themes of October Pedestrian Safety Month
Pedestrian accidents occur every day on American roads. Negligent drivers who fail to take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents regularly jeopardize pedestrians' safety. The chances of getting hit by motor vehicles are greater at locations other than intersections or crosswalks. And pedestrians' lack of protection renders them more vulnerable to catastrophic injuries in the event of a crash.
During October's National Pedestrian Safety Month, the NHTSA encourages the states and the other stakeholders to learn and implement the Safe System Approach, which includes five main elements like safe people, safe speeds, safe roads, safe vehicles, and post-crash care. Virginia state’s traffic safety officials will focus on four themes in four weeks of the Pedestrian Safety Month in October to raise awareness about pedestrian safety.
- Week 1 - Everyone Is a Pedestrian: The theme for the first week is to remind motorists to keep an eye out for pedestrians and drive cautiously. Individuals across the country will participate in National Walk to School Day (October 6, 2021). to raise awareness about the benefits of walking.
- Week 2 - Safe Speeds Save Lives: The focus this week is on recognizing the value of slower speeds in saving lives. Always obey speed limits and look out for pedestrians when driving!
- Week 3 - Safe Vehicles: This week’s theme focuses on Safe Vehicles. Newer lifesaving technologies in Vehicles like automatic emergency braking, rear backup cameras can help protect pedestrians.
- Week 4 – Safe Roads: A safe road system plays a vital role in reducing fatal crashes and injuries. This week's focus is to implement innovative approaches for pedestrian safety.
10 Key Pedestrian Accident Safety Facts
Tragically, a lack of safety practices leads to thousands of devastating pedestrian injuries that are often fatal and preventable. According to the NHTSA's latest traffic accident report for the year 2019, here are some key pedestrian accident facts and stats:
- In 2019 there were 76,000 pedestrians injured and 6,205 killed in traffic accidents in the United States.
- Between 2010 and 2019, the overall pedestrian fatality rate increased by 30 percent.
- A pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes and injured every 7 minutes as a result of traffic accidents.
- 70% of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents were male (4,344 out of 6,205).
- 20 % of pedestrian fatalities involved hit-and-run drivers.
- 46% of the traffic accidents that resulted in pedestrian fatalities reported alcohol involvement — for the driver and/or the pedestrian.
- Urban areas (82%) reported more pedestrian fatalities than rural areas (18%).
- Single-vehicle crashes and multi-vehicle crashes accounted for 90% and 10% of pedestrian fatalities, respectively.
- In Virginia, 123 pedestrians were killed in road incidents, accounting for 15% of the state's total traffic fatalities.
- Virginia's pedestrian fatality rate is 1.44 per 100,000 population.
Lives can be saved if all road users commit to working together. Both motorists and pedestrians share a duty to keep streets safe and ensuring that everyone gets to their destination safely. We can help prevent collisions, injuries, and fatalities on our roads by practicing safe driving and walking behavior.
Tips for Pedestrians to walk safely
As a pedestrian, you must be aware of your surroundings, and knowing the safety rules will help you avoid getting involved in a tragic accident. Following NHTSA's pedestrian safety tips will help you stay safe:
- Always walk on sidewalks or path one available. If there isn't a sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Always walk alert; avoid getting distracted by devices like cell phones and music players.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers as they approach and never assume they can see you.
- Avoid Jaywalking and always cross at crosswalks or intersections when available. If there isn't a crosswalk or an intersection accessible, choose a well-lit place, wait for a gap in traffic that will enable you to cross safely, and keep an eye on vehicles while you cross.
- Be alert in driveways or parking lots to cars entering, exiting, or backing up.
- During the day, wear bright colors, and at night, use reflective materials. For increased visibility at night, use a flashlight.
Tips for drivers to drive safely around pedestrians
When sharing the road with pedestrians, drivers must realize the necessity of following safety regulations and guidelines. According to the NHTSA, drivers should keep in mind the following tips when behind the wheel:
- Pedestrians may not be walking where they should be or may be difficult to see, particularly at night and in bad weather.
- Always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk or where pedestrian crossing signs have been placed.
- Passing automobiles stopped at a crosswalk is never a good idea. They may be stopped to allow people to cross the roadway.
- Drive within safe speed limits and keep an eye out for pedestrians. When turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk, be prepared to come to a complete stop.
- Avoid driving if you're intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Stick to the speed limit and slow down while passing pedestrians.
- Keep your concentration and drive slowly in areas where children are likely to be present, such as school zones and neighborhoods.
It's critical to be alert once Daylight Saving Time ends and the sun sets earlier. In fall months, there is less daylight, which leads to an increase in pedestrian accidents. Most of the accidents occur between 6 pm to midnight. Slow down and be aware of your surroundings, both drivers and pedestrians. That is the message from traffic safety officials, especially during National Pedestrian Safety Month in October. Safety is a shared responsibility. Let us pledge to make pedestrian safety month a worthwhile effort.
Contacting Top-rated Pedestrian Accident Attorneys in Virginia
Suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in Virginia? Working with an experienced pedestrian lawyer is the best step you can take to ensure fair compensation recovery. Kalfus & Nachman's accomplished pedestrian accident attorneys in Virginia are here to guide injured pedestrians and their families to navigate the legal process with ease and recover the maximum compensation to which they are entitled. Call us for a free consultation today: 855-880-8163