It doesn’t take a genius to realize that New York is filled with pedestrians. For many, walking is the best way to get to where they’re going, while others must walk to find another mode of transportation, be it a taxi, rideshare or subway, to go further distances. While walking in our city shouldn’t be a dangerous endeavor – after all, one would think that New Yorkers would be used to driving near pedestrians – this simple act can prove fatal. Sadly, a recent study has shown that pedestrians are at a greater risk of being injured or killed in car accidents than they have been at any other point in the last 30 years.
The study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that more than 6,200 individuals were killed in pedestrian accidents last year. Of course, some of these accidents are attributed to jaywalkers and those pedestrians who are distracted by cell phones. However, reckless and negligent drivers cause a significant number of them. While poor sidewalk and crosswalk infrastructure has contributed to these preventable deaths, smartphone use amongst drivers and the increasing utilization of SUVs seem to be playing an increasing role.
The frequency with which both motorists and pedestrians use smartphones is troubling. The study found that such use has increased 4,000 percent since 2008. Those drivers who take their eyes off the road to look at a smartphone, even for a few seconds, can travel a hundred yards or more without seeing the road. This can cause them to careen into a crosswalk or onto a sidewalk. While pedestrian-sensing technology for cars does exist, it isn’t in widespread use.
The tragic reality is that pedestrians are not as safe as they may think they are. When they are injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, they may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in hopes of recovering compensation for their damages. If one of these wrecks results in death, then surviving family members may be able to pursue damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition to imposing liability and potentially recovering compensation, these claims may help deter negligent driving amongst others, which very well could save the life of another.