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Pedestrian Accidents and Safety in Salt Lake City

All of us at one time or another are going to be walking around fast moving cars.  Perhaps this is a daily occurrence because you only need to walk a few blocks to get to work.  In other cases we might find ourselves walking through a busy parking lot, or on the streets of downtown Salt Lake City.  Despite our best efforts, people are struck by passenger vehicles each and every year.  On average 30 people are killed in Utah as the result of a pedestrian auto-accident.  This number is coupled with another 800 people that will need emergency medical services as a result of the accident.


What Causes Pedestrian Accidents?

On a surface level, the same circumstances that cause regular car crashes also lead to pedestrian accidents.  Below are some of the most common reasons.  As you read through this list we want to bring two items to mind.  The first is that almost all causes are a result of human error and could have been avoided one way or another.  The second is that we hope this brings a stronger sense of safety and awareness as we drive or walk along the sidewalks and crosswalks.

  1. Distracted driving or walking. In a majority of cases where someone is struck by a car it was due to someone being distracted.  The main culprit is texting or using their cell phone while driving.  While it is not illegal to use your cell phone while walking, distracted walking at crucial times can make it difficult to see potential dangers.  Even if you are walking just a few blocks to your destination, it is important to stay vigilant.  A large part of this means not taking it for granted that vehicles see you and are making sure they do not proceed until you are out of the crosswalk.
  2. The pedestrian is wearing dark clothing or the driver did not look to see the pedestrian. It should come as no surprise that more people get hit at night, then in the daytime.  It may be surprising however that more people are hit using the crosswalk correctly, than by running into the street or jaywalking.  Vehicle operators often hit people when they are either taking a right or a left hand turn through the crosswalk at the road light.  Drivers often find that they are so focused on looking for a break in traffic to make their turn that they forget to look for walkers before they rush through the opening.
  3. Reckless driving and alcohol. In over 10 percent of all pedestrian accident, alcohol was used by the driver.  This has to do with a spike in alcohol use at nights and over the weekend when many people hit bars and nightclubs for a night out on the town.  Speeding or sudden lane changes also result in people being struck by cars.  One example includes a bicycle using the sidewalk, causing someone to briefly enter the road to avoid the cyclist.  They are then suddenly struck by a vehicle that made a quick lane change.

Utah has an eye-opening article about pedestrian safety that we advise you reading if you found value in the information above.  Remember to stay safe, keep your eyes open and contact an injury attorney should you find yourself injured due to the negligence of another.

Jeffrey D. Gooch
Attorney at Law
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