Motor Vehicle Accidents are a Threat to Public Health
People deserve to live and work in a safe society, but the reality is that many communities are quite hazardous. There are many common threats to the public health, including pollution, gun violence, availability of illegal drugs, and more. In fact, the first full week of April has been designated National Public Health Week (NPHW) since 1995 for the sole purpose of raising awareness about these issues. One of the biggest is vehicle accidents.
Whether a fender bender or a more serious accident, car crashes occur every day, in all types of situations. And it’s not just between vehicles. Thousands of pedestrians are killed every year in traffic collisions. For example, the first half of 2015 saw a 10 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities over the same time period in 2014 – more than 2,350. Many of them were hurt in low-income neighborhoods, which are often poorly maintained. Sidewalks are uneven or non-existent. Streets are pocked with holes. Shrubs are overgrown, impacting visibility. Many intersections don’t have crosswalks. These are the communities that face the highest likelihood of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.
However, even in ideal conditions where visibility is perfect and streets are paved, people on bikes or on foot are still incredibly vulnerable when near/in traffic. Staying vigilant is everyone’s responsibility. Help yourself by being aware of your surroundings. It’s difficult to pay attention to the sights and sounds of your environment when you’re engrossed in the sights and sounds of your phone or other electronic device. People step into traffic, fall off the curb, trip and fall, etc. Kids are a particularly vulnerable at-risk age group, with pedestrian-vehicle injuries ranking as the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 19.
To help keep children and adults safe around cars, the National Safety Council suggests:
- Whichever direction you look in first before crossing the street, be sure to check that direction a second time. Taking another glance is necessary to judge the distance of any approaching vehicles – they can cover a lot of ground in a short time.
- Don’t rely on a car to stop.
- Don’t use a cell phone or other electronic device (including headphones) while walking.
- Cross only at designated crosswalks. If there are none available, cross at street corners rather than the middle of the block.
- Walk in groups.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing.
- Children younger than 10 should cross the street with an adult.
While pedestrians undoubtedly need to look out for themselves, driver recklessness is a huge contributor to vehicle accidents. People get behind the wheel drunk, buzzed, exhausted, and distracted, among other careless behaviors. Certainly, the number of motorists who use their phones while driving is staggering, and is a subject that’s been studied many times in the last decade. Just reading a text message is estimated to take five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s approximately the length of time it takes to drive the length of a football field. And essentially doing it blindfolded. It’s also more than enough time to run a stop sign, cruise through a red light, hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk, jump a curb, or drive into the oncoming lane.
If you have any questions about this topic, or if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact experienced Louisiana pedestrian accident attorney Chris Roy Jr, founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm. Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, he takes pride in helping victims of negligence in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Allen Parish, Vernon Parish, and throughout Central Louisiana. Benefit from his assistance and knowledge by contacting the firm for a free initial consultation. Call 1-318-987-8170 to get help today.