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Alcohol Significant Factor in Pedestrian Fatalities

We are all aware that driving under the influence can impair a driver’s reaction time, judgment, coordination, and can result in serious injuries to the driver, passengers, and others. Interestingly enough, alcohol can play a significant role in accidents involving pedestrians as well. It is no surprise, as reaction time, awareness, coordination, and balance also affect how well pedestrians are able to walk and react to any potential obstacles, vehicles, or other pedestrians around them.

In August 2012 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report on pedestrian traffic safety facts based on data gathered in 2010. In that year, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and another 70,000 (estimated) were injured in traffic incidents in the United States. This represents an increase of 4 percent from the previous year, but an overall decrease of 13 percent from 2001. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 13 percent of all traffic-related fatalities for 2010.

Alcohol use played a significant role in accidents that resulted in pedestrian fatalities – 47% of such accidents involved alcohol, either for the pedestrian or for the driver. Of those pedestrians involved, one-third had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08. Perhaps surprisingly, only 14 percent of the drivers involved in accidents with pedestrian fatalities had a BAC of .08 or greater.

The NHSTA recommends following the following safety reminders to avoid pedestrian traffic accidents:

  • In most situations, vehicles are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing streets in marked or unmarked crosswalks. A situation that can be particularly dangerous and requires extreme care is turning onto a street where failure to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian occurs often and pedestrians are often in a vehicle’s path.
  • It is important for pedestrians to cross streets at designated crosswalks. Pedestrians should always look left, right and then left again before crossing a street. If there is a parked vehicle or other obstruction blocking the view to the left, the pedestrian should stop at the edge of the vehicle and look around it prior to walking into the street.
  • Pedestrians should increase their visibility when walking at night. Carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective clothing are two ways pedestrians can easily increase their visibility.
  • Whenever possible, pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk. If it is necessary to walk in the street, pedestrians should walk towards traffic.

If you have been injured in a traffic accident, either as a pedestrian or a motorist, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. To determine whether you have a case, it is important to have an experienced Fayette County car accident attorney review the circumstances of your injury. To schedule a free consultation with a Fayette Country car accident lawyer, call the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 today.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia