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New Year’s is the Deadliest Time of Year for Pedestrians

According to a report issued by the journal Injury Prevention, more pedestrians are killed on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.

As New Year’s Eve approaches, we anticipate festivities and fun with friends and family. However, there is another side to this holiday that may seriously threaten our safety. Unbeknownst to many, New Year’s Eve has been cited as the single most fatal day for pedestrians in the United States, caused primarily by the intersecting phenomena of people driving and walking under the influence of alcohol.

According to a report issued by the journal Injury Prevention, more pedestrians are killed on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year. Specifically, 410 pedestrian fatalities occurred on this day alone between 1986 and 2002. What’s more, alcohol involvement in pedestrian accidents is astounding for the driver and/or the pedestrian. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, alcohol was involved in 49 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents.

Considering the prevalence of alcohol consumption and the sheer number of people walking and driving on the roads during New Year’s, it is not surprising that this day can be dangerous for pedestrian and car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a series of safety precautions for those walking and driving during New Year’s, which are included in the chart below:

For Pedestrians:

1. Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available.

2. If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.

3. Stay alert; don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smartphones, MP3 players, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.

4. Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you (he or she could be distracted, under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or just not see you). Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.

5. Be predictable. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.

6. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.

7. Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.

For Drivers:

1. Look for pedestrians everywhere. Pedestrians may not be walking where they should be or may be hard to see—especially in poor lit conditions, including dusk/dawn/night and poor weather.

2. Always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk or where pedestrian crosswalk signs are posted.

3. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. They may be stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.

4. Slowdown and look for pedestrians. Be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.

5. Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

6. Follow the speed limit; slow down around pedestrians.

7. Stay focused and slow down where children may be present, like school zones and neighborhoods.

Obviously, the most significant precaution that you can take on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is to avoid alcohol and drugs when walking or driving. Unfortunately, the behavior of others is simply out of your control. If you are injured due to another driver’s negligence, you can hold them accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact our Bensalem Personal Injury Attorneys Today

At Cohen & Riechelson, our seasoned personal injury attorneys have served on behalf of victims in Pennsylvania for over 40 years, working to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. To speak with a legal team member free of charge, contact our Bucks County offices at (215) 337-4915.

To learn more about pedestrian accidents and safety recommendations, view the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Pedestrian Traffic Safety Facts Report.

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With looming medical bills and the uphill battle of recovery ahead, we do not burden you with yet another financial responsibility during this trying time. We abide by a contingency model, which essentially means that until you receive compensation, we work for you for free. With centrally-located offices in Bensalem, our skilled legal professionals have been serving clients throughout Bucks County and Northeast Philadelphia for over 40 years. We are committed to providing unparalleled advocacy, advisement, and assistance to our clients while confronting those who would seek to deter you as aggressive, unwavering champions of your interests. Contact our Bensalem offices today to request your free, confidential consultation.