Pedestrian-related crashes are among the most devastating on the roadway, and it is easy to see why. Pedestrians have no protection against the impact of vehicles that can weigh several tons or more. And although getting around by foot is not a major mode of transportation in Pennsylvania, pedestrian-involved traffic crash fatalities in 2020 accounted for 12.9 percent of all traffic deaths, according to PennDOT.
Trends in Pedestrian Accidents
Although crashes involving pedestrians are on a downtick, deaths involving pedestrians have fluctuated over the past five years. Still, 2,831 total pedestrian crashes were reported in 2020 on Pennsylvania’s roads. Of those, 146 people succumbed to their injuries.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents involving passenger autos are among the most traumatic accidents imaginable, and most often, these accidents are preventable if not for the negligence of drivers on the road. Some of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Distracted motorists: From texting on the phone to dealing with rowdy kids in the backseat, a distracted motorist is a danger to all others on the roadway.
- Drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of drugs: Pedestrians and others on the road are particularly vulnerable to accidents caused by drunk drivers or drivers who are impaired because they are under the influence of illicit drugs. Drivers in this state make poor decisions on the road and have slower reaction times, which can spell out danger for pedestrians.
- Reckless driving: Careless or reckless driving is a primary driving factor behind many pedestrian accidents. Drivers who drive recklessly often do not obey traffic laws that have been put into place to protect pedestrians and other motorists, making them a danger on the road.
- Speeding: Drivers who speed have reduced reaction times and less time to make good judgments on the roadway. This can lead to problems when a pedestrian steps onto the roadway or the driver encounters a crosswalk and has little or no time to stop.
- Inclement weather: Drivers must be aware of changing road conditions and be prepared to adjust their driving as a result. For example, ice makes roads slick, and stopping times must be adjusted.
- Road construction: Road construction is not just an inconvenience. It can also lead to danger for pedestrians who may be forced to walk in areas where they usually do not walk—and where motorists least expect them.