Motorists Still Main Cause of Pedestrian Accidents in Modesto and Elsewhere

February 13, 2012

Researchers are studying a new type of pedestrian accident in Modesto. Experts with Transportation For America are looking at the number of "distracted" pedestrians who have been killed in recent years. The number of distraction-related pedestrian deaths is minimal in comparison to the problem as a whole.
Researchers have determined that the number of headphone-wearing pedestrians who have been killed in traffic-related accidents in the last six years has tripled. While it may sound like this problem is becoming epidemic, the truth of the matter is that these types of accidents still only accounted for about 0.3 percent of all pedestrian deaths during the study time. From 2000 to 2009, there were nearly 48,000 pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways in traffic-related accidents. Of the 48,000 pedestrian fatalities over the 9-year study, only about 115 were the result of pedestrians wearing headphones, according to researchers at The University of Maryland.

In California, where we're blessed with some pretty beautiful weather, our Modesto pedestrian accident lawyers understand that these types of accidents are all too common. During the study period, there were nearly 7,000 pedestrians killed along California roadways. In fact, there were more pedestrian fatalities in our state than in any other state in the country.

In recent news coverage, the media has attempted to shift the blame from motorists to pedestrians. Still, with less than half of a percent of these accidents being attributed to headphone-wearing pedestrians, how could it be their fault?

It's true that it's never a good idea to travel while distracted, whether you're walking, biking or driving. When traveling along the busy roadways of California, you need to make sure all of your attention is on the roadway and your surroundings.

Pedestrian advocates have found this study to be relatively meaningless, saying that it's like trying to help someone who's been stabbed in the chest and trying to find a little Band-Aid to patch the scratch on his knee. It just makes no sense.

The biggest threat was and continues to be motorists. Unfortunately, a majority of motorists travel our roadways with little to no regard for our on-foot travelers, who also have the right to be there.

Did you know that a majority of roadways where pedestrian accidents occurred in the U.S. are in fact streets that are eligible to receive federal funding? This money is supposed to be used for road projects to help make the streets safer, but it continues to be utilized to make roadways bigger and better to equip speedy travel. Nearly 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on these dangerous roads.

Some researchers say the number of pedestrian fatalities resulting from distractions hasn't really changed with the advancement of iPods, smartphones and other technologies. The problem is less about headphones and cell phones and more about the lack of smart traffic engineering.

Experts commenting on the new research say the 0.3 percent of pedestrians killed while wearing headphones is not a large enough sample from which to draw any meaningful conclusions. Instead, their time is better spent addressing ways that we can work to protect the other 99.7 percent of non-headphone-wearing pedestrians who were killed in traffic-related accidents.

If you or someone you love has been injured and needs to speak with a pedestrian accident attorney in Modesto or Stockton, contact the Law Offices of Robert J. Anaya at 1-209.522.7500 to set up a free consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Pedestrian deaths, blaming the victim: headphones edition, by Stephen Lee Davis, Transportation For America

More Blog Entries:

Stockton Pedestrian Accident Takes out Two -- Officers Investigate, Modesto Injury Lawyers Blog, September 28, 2011

Highway 108 a Dangerous Place for Modesto Pedestrian Accidents, Modesto Injury Lawyers Blog, April 9, 2011