When it comes to pedestrian accidents, failing to yield the right of way is one of the main motorist-related violations that cause collisions that result in major injuries and fatalities. While drivers in all types of vehicles don't do a great job of yielding right of way to pedestrians, a recent study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) found that drivers in flashier, more expensive cars are the least likely to stop for crossing pedestrians.
Many Drivers Feel a Sense of Superiority
The UNLV study found that of 461 cars they examined, only 28% yielded to pedestrians. However, the cost of the car was a significant predictor of driver yielding. The odds that drivers would stop decreased by 3% with every $1,000 increase in the car's value. Researchers estimated the cost of each vehicle using pricing categories from Kelley Blue Book. The study also found that motorists overall yielded less frequently to men and people of color waiting at mid-block crosswalks than for women and white people.
This is consistent with findings from similar studies on the topics of driver yielding behaviors associated with social class, race and gender. This is crucial public health information given that pedestrians could suffer life-threatening injuries even when they are struck at low speeds. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety states that the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph; 25% at 23 mph; 50% at 31 mph; 75% at 39 mph; and 90% at 46 mph.
Auto Versus Pedestrian
When an automobile is involved in a collision with a human being, it goes without saying that the human being will be the one to suffer more damage. It is one of the main reasons why California laws are written with pedestrian safety in mind. California law categorically states that pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way.
California Vehicle Code Section 21950(a) states that motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians walking in marked and unmarked crosswalks. Drivers must slow down, come to a full stop and not proceed until it safe to do so and the pedestrian has crossed the road safely.
The law also states that pedestrians should not step into the path of a vehicle outside a crosswalk. Still the motorist is responsible for exercising due care and caution to strike any pedestrian in the roadway, even when they are outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This means that a driver who injures a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk could face criminal charges as well as financial liability in civil court.
What Are Some Factors That Make Pedestrians Vulnerable?
A number of common causes of pedestrian accidents can lead to serious injuries. There are a number of reasons why pedestrians are vulnerable compared to other users of the road:
Excessive speed: When drivers operate at a speed higher than the posted speed limit or at an unsafe rate of speed, pedestrians are more vulnerable. The greater the speed at which pedestrians are hit, the higher the risk of catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Impaired driving: Alcohol consumption or drug use increases the likelihood of a pedestrian crash as it leads to poor judgment, poor reaction time and decrease in visual acuity and perception. Pedestrians' risk of crash involvement escalates with increasing concentration of blood alcohol.
Lack of proper infrastructure: When pedestrians don't have the infrastructure they need to use the road, the likelihood of a pedestrian accident increases. When pedestrians don't have proper signage and facilities such as crosswalks and pedestrian bridges, there is a heightened risk of a pedestrian crash.
Lack of proper visibility: This could occur when there is inadequate roadway lighting. When pedestrians cannot see the roadway properly, there is a greater risk that they would get hit by a vehicle.
Is the Driver Always at Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?
Drivers are not always at fault in pedestrian accidents. If a pedestrian engages in a reckless or careless act such as running into the roadway, the motorist may not be at fault for the collision. However, in some cases, even though a pedestrian may be at fault by running across a roadway, if it is determined that the driver was impaired, speeding or distracted at the time of the accident, he or she could also be held financially liable for the pedestrian's injuries, damages and losses. An experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.
Getting Help After a Pedestrian Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important that you contact an experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer right away. Pedestrian accidents typically result in life changing injuries that could have an impact on your everyday life and your ability to make a living.
Make sure you preserve crucial evidence from the scene and save your medical bills and other documentation. A knowledgeable pedestrian accident lawyer can help hold the driver accountable and help you secure maximum compensation for your tremendous losses. Call the Vaziri Law Group Personal Injury Attorneys to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights, or simply fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.