The Star Advertiser reports that two pedestrians accidents resulted in fatalities in late June, leading to police calling for added caution on both the part of pedestrians and motorists. Both car accidents involved cars striking pedestrians who were crossing major streets in crosswalks without traffic lights.
These are not the only pedestrians to be killed in accidents in Hawaii. Back in 2012, Honolulu Civil Beat did a report on how Hawaii’s pedestrians, particularly the elderly, are at high risk. At that time Hawaii was consistently ranked number 1 in the nation for senior-age pedestrian fatalities. Health Department data from 2007 through 2011 showed that 90 people were killed in 524 pedestrian accidents during that time span, and that 80 percent of those killed were age 65 or older. Elderly Hawaii pedestrians were being killed at a rate twice the national average. This may in part be the one negative consequence of how active our seniors are, and how much more likely they are to walk than their mainland counterparts. Some of the problem is also contributed to by jaywalking—39% of the pedestrian fatalities involved victims who were in the road when they should not have been.
This is not to say drivers are not at fault. The statistics in the report state that two-thirds of Oahu drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities were at least partially to blame. In other words, the drivers are at least partly to blame more often than not. Inattentive driving, speeding, and failure to yield are common driver errors that contribute to the accidents.
While the problem is serious in Hawaii, it is also nationwide. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2010 and an estimated 70,000 pedestrians were injured. NHTSA reports that on average a pedestrian was killed every two hours and one was injured every eight minutes. Eighty percent of them occurred during regular weather conditions. About two-thirds of the accidents happened at night. Pedestrians aged 65 or older accounted for almost 1/5 of the fatalities. More than two-thirds of the pedestrians killed were males, and alcohol was involved in almost half of the fatalities.
Ways to Prevent Being Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Drivers have a responsibility to pay attention and watch out for pedestrians. Unfortunately, some drivers do not uphold that duty and pedestrians wind up hurt or killed. However, there are some steps you can take to try to prevent being a victim. NHTSA recommends pedestrians take these steps:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks if possible;
- Stop and look left, right, and then left again before crossing;
- If a parked vehicle blocks your view, stop at the edge of the vehicle and look around it before crossing;
- If walking at night, carry a flashlight;
- If walking at night, wear retro-reflective clothing which highlights body movements;
- Walk on sidewalks if at all possible; and
- If you are forced to walk in the street, walk facing traffic.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen. If you are injured as a pedestrian though, contact the attorneys at Davis Levin Livingston to learn how we can help you recover compensation.