Recent statistics have demonstrated a marked rise in pedestrian deaths on the nation's roads. Though a definitive cause for the rise has not yet been proven, several factors are speculated as contributing to the increase. In any event, the numbers of deaths should make both motorists and pedestrians in California act with greater care.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities among those walking on the road jumped at least 9 percent in both 2015 and 2016. The figures for 2017 remain the same as 2016. Currently, the number of deaths is nearly 6,000 annually.
Though most are aware of distracted driving due to texting and smartphone use, a new trend in "distracted walking" is occurring where people's eyes are focused on their phones while crossing a road. As many states now prohibit texting while driving, some jurisdictions are considering "texting while crossing" laws to make sure people pay attention while walking.
Considering that 75 percent of pedestrian deaths occur at night, some are questioning whether modern vehicle headlights may be a cause. Some feel that headlights do not provide sufficient lateral illumination. Recommendations from those who agree with this argument believe that headlight design should require wrap-around illumination to widen the field of view.
Another study is raising the issue of the recreational use of marijuana. In seven states that permit marijuana use, deaths among pedestrians have increased noticeably.
For those involved in a pedestrian or bicycle auto accident, the rules of the road pertaining to rights of way may determine the case. Though a pedestrian often has the right of way over a vehicle, this is not always the case. Someone walking against a red light or crossing outside of a crosswalk are two examples. Those involved in such an accident may wish to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to know their rights.