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Pedestrian accidents can lead to severe injuries or fatalities

People in St. Augustine certainly appreciate the mild winters in the state. Whether they are "snow birds" or whether they reside in Florida year-round, while people in the northern states are shoveling snow and dealing with frigid temperatures, Floridians are enjoying the weather that allows them to ride their bikes, go swimming or even take a walk.

In fact, walking is not only a pleasant thing to do, but it also improves one's health, is good for the environment and can save money that would otherwise be spent on owning and operating an automobile. Unfortunately, pedestrians in Florida and across the nation are vulnerable to traffic accidents caused by other drivers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, in 2015, over 5,300 pedestrians lost their lives after being struck by a vehicle. To put it another way, this means that, on average, every 1.6 hours one person will be killed in an auto-pedestrian accident. Moreover, while not every pedestrian accident will be fatal, they can still cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. The CDC reports that, in 2015, nearly 129,000 pedestrians had to go to a hospital emergency room after suffering an injury in an auto-pedestrian accident.

There are certain risk factors regarding who will be the victim of an auto-pedestrian accident. Pedestrians age 65 and up made up nearly 20 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2015 and accounted for around 13 percent of all injured pedestrians. Young people are also at risk. The CDC reports that one out of every five individuals age 15 or younger who lost their lives in a traffic accident were pedestrians.

Alcohol use was a factor of nearly 50 percent of fatal auto-pedestrian accidents. In addition, more pedestrian accidents took place in urban areas, during nighttime hours and, what may surprise some, at locations that were not intersections.

As this shows, pedestrians can suffer severe injuries or even lose their lives by being struck by a car. Auto-pedestrian accidents are tragedies that could often have been avoided but for driver negligence. Therefore, pedestrians injured in car crashes may want to take the steps necessary to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Source: cdc.gov, "Pedestrian Safety," accessed Dec. 30, 2017

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