A fatal Thanksgiving Day hit and run accident involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian in Des Moines is among a growing number of pedestrian deaths across the nation. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that pedestrian deaths in 2019 were the highest in 30 years – with nearly 7,000 pedestrian deaths – a 5 percent increase over 2018. And, not surprisingly, the main causes of pedestrian deaths are a failure to yield the right of way, crossing a roadways improperly, poor visibility, impairment and distraction.
Right of way refers to the legal right of a motorist or pedestrian to proceed in a particular location. If, for example, a light directs a pedestrian to proceed across a crosswalk and a motorist does allow the pedestrian to cross before driving through an intersection, they have failed to yield. Keep in mind, however, that if a pedestrian crosses a roadway or intersection improperly such as jaywalking or attempts to cross at the last minute just as a light changes, there may be a question regarding whether a vehicle failed to yield properly if there is an accident.
In the case of poor visibility, both motorist and pedestrians have a responsibility to exercise more caution to avoid an accident. It is important to have headlights in proper working order and slowdown in poor visibility conditions such as after dark, in poor weather conditions, and when driving through known areas of pedestrian traffic looking for pedestrians that may be wearing dark clothes. Pedestrians should wear bright clothing when walking around at night when possible and only cross at designated crossings after checking traffic has stopped.
Driving while intoxicated and even walking while impaired result in thousands of car related pedestrian accidents every year. Whether a pedestrian or motorist has had too much to drink or has been using drugs, the risk of a car accident goes up – – it is important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware. Pedestrians are more vulnerable when compared to the driver of a vehicle in an accident making their risk of injury or death much greater.
When you are injured in a pedestrian accident due to an inattentive, impaired or otherwise negligent driver, contact the personal injury law offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for a free consultation at 515-244-1473.