Pedestrian safety is a growing concern in the UK, especially in large cities where many drivers are on the road. According to government statistics, pedestrian injuries and fatalities account for a large number of traffic accidents reported by the UK Department for Transport.
Between 2013 and 2014, minor pedestrian injuries affected almost 20,000 people in the UK. Serious injuries rose by almost 1.5 percent, and pedestrian fatalities rose by 12 percent. Children are the most vulnerable victims to pedestrian accidents and injuries from automobiles. According to accident reports, children who are 10 to 12 years old are most at risk. One in 650 children in this age group are reported as pedestrian casualties each year.
Factors that Contribute to Pedestrian Injuries
Pedestrians are at greater risks for injury in car-related accidents because they are out in the open and unprotected from enclosed surroundings. In rush hour traffic on busy downtown streets, automobiles and pedestrians are commonly thrown together. This makes pedestrian-related car accidents much more likely and puts larger numbers of unsuspecting pedestrians at a higher risk for injuries and fatalities. In many pedestrian injuries and fatalities, drivers fail to notice pedestrians until it’s too late. They are often distracted by other drivers, traffic congestion, posted signs, law enforcement officers, and UK parking control officers. Auto accident reports show common factors that often contribute to increased inner-city pedestrian injuries:
* Distracted drivers and pedestrians on cell phones
* Distracted drivers eating or drinking in the car
* Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
* Anxious and irritated drivers who are stuck in city traffic jams
* More drivers on the road during peak hours, between 8 am and 6 pm
* Increased number of people living and working in inner-city areas
* Increased number of inner-city residents and workers who walk to work
Driver and Pedestrian Responsibilities
Both drivers and pedestrians have a responsibility to promote safety that prevents auto accidents and injuries, especially in busy inner-city environments. Just as drivers are expected to follow traffic safety laws and observe pedestrians in surrounding areas, pedestrians also owe a duty of care to other people using sidewalks and roadways. To promote safety, pedestrians must obey all traffic signals, cross the street using crosswalks, walk on sidewalks whenever they are provided, and never cross the street suddenly in front of oncoming traffic. If a pedestrian breaches this duty of care, and injuries result, he/she may be found liable for the accident.