In 2021, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents hit a 40-year high. As outlined below, most of these incidents aren’t “accidents.” People accidentally forget to pay the light bill. They don’t accidentally speed excessively or drive drunk and smack into people who are crossing the street. Traffic calming measures and infrastructure changes, like lower speed limits and raised crosswalks, could reduce or eliminate the number of pedestrian fatalities. But for one reason or another, these measures remain on the drawing board.
When politicians don’t protect people, a Columbus pedestrian accident attorney assumes that responsibility. Legal actions encourage tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to operate their vehicles more carefully. Additionally, these legal actions obtain the financial compensation these victims need and deserve. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
These collisions certainly aren’t unavoidable or inevitable accidents. Instead, these tortfeasors deliberately decide to prioritize their convenience above the safety of other people. Some examples of impaired driving include:
Fatigue: Much like alcohol consumption, which is discussed below, excessive drowsiness adversely affects judgment ability and motor skills. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours, which is the equivalent of a long day at work, is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for most Ohio motorists.
Alcohol: Driver habits are hard to change. Despite tougher laws and tougher police tactics, alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal road collisions in Ohio. People with clouded judgment and slower-than-normal motor skills simply cannot safely operate motor vehicles and other heavy machinery.
Drugs: Much like alcohol, various impairing drugs, like prescription painkillers and marijuana, are at least semi-legal to consume. But it’s usually illegal, and always dangerous, to drive under the influence of these substances. But drugged driving is another bad motorist habit. About half of the drivers who caused fatal accidents tested positive for drugs.
Other kinds of driver impairment include distracted driving and driving with a moderate or serious medical condition.
Using a hand-held device or hands-free device is cognitively, visually, and/or manually distracting. The flu and other moderate illnesses decrease driving ability by as much as 50 percent. Serious medical conditions, like heart disease, could cause motorists to pass out behind the wheel and cause an out-of-control disastrous collision.
Excessive speed increases the risk of a collision and, more importantly, the force in a collision. The pedestrian fatality rate is about 10 percent at impact speeds under 15mph. At impact speeds above 40mph, the death rate catapults to 80 percent.
Other kinds of aggressive driving include turning without looking and ignoring a traffic control device. These forms of aggressive driving are especially dangerous to vulnerable pedestrians.
Aggressive driving, much like impaired driving, is both a choice and a bad habit that won’t go away. Drivers have complete control over their vehicles. They decide things like when to turn and how fast to travel. The coronavirus pandemic encouraged drivers to develop these bad habits, since roads largely emptied and traffic enforcement largely ceased.
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