What You Need to Know About Pedestrian Accidents in Washington DC
There are several different rules and laws that impact pedestrians in the Washington DC area.
It is no surprise that given the plethora of public transportation options and the ease of getting from one place to another in the district of Columbia makes it an ideal situation for a pedestrian.
More than 3,000 pedestrians every single year, however, are involved in accidents with cars in the Washington DC area.Why D.C. is Home to So Many Pedestrian Accidents & Fatalities
The fact that so many people use the opportunity to walk in or near streets that are already congested with vehicle traffic makes for the perfect storm in terms of pedestrian accidents.
Crosswalk laws and crosswalk facilities throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC do not go far enough to provide adequate safety for pedestrians. The district of Columbia has taken steps in order to make the city more walkable and friendlier to pedestrians.
For example, in 2002, a media campaign was launched in order to educate the DC community about bicycle and pedestrian safety; comprehensive accessibility strategies and safety tips were designed in 2004, and pedestrian signals have been installed in more than 1300 intersections. However, pedestrians still continue to represent an alarming portion of vehicle accidents.
In 2015, 60 pedestrians died as a result of motor vehicle accidents in the D.C. area. That’s an increase from previous years. In 201, for example, 45 pedestrians were killed in vehicle crashes. In 2014, 53 individuals were struck.
One of the most devastating situations for a pedestrian is when a vehicle driver hits a pedestrian and then leaves the scene without stopping to check if the person is okay or to exchange information.
This is known as a hit and run accident. Pedestrians may be able to use evidence, such as video footage or statements from witnesses, to identify the driver and hold him or her accountable.D.C. Rules & Laws Addressing Pedestrians
While pedestrians should also always do their part by crossing the street safely and only at crosswalks, there are particular rules within the District about how vehicle drivers must react to protect pedestrian safety.
Some of these rules include:
- When a vehicle is stopped to turn right on red, that vehicle has to yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk; pedestrians have the right of way.
- When a car turns right or left, they need to first look for bicyclists and pedestrians
- When a pedestrian is in any crosswalk as a vehicle approaches, the vehicle needs to come to a complete stop.
The latest plan developed in the District of Columbia was put together in May 2008. It is being implemented over the course of the ten years following to the tune of $18 million. Pedestrians will be much safer as a result of traffic signals with significant pedestrian activity.
The current law requires that motorists yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. The law under consideration would require motorists to stop for pedestrians. The state of Maryland has likewise devised a 20-year plan.What Should I do if I’ve Already Been hit in a D.C. Pedestrian Accident?
If you have already been involved in a pedestrian accident in Washington DC, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries. Although pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have decreased since 1975, they still make up 15% of all vehicle crash deaths and those individuals most likely to be severely hurt or killed in a pedestrian accident are aged 70 and above.
Pedestrian accidents happen most often in urban areas like DC. Without the protection of safety features like a seatbelt or an airbag, pedestrians can be thrown into oncoming traffic or into stationary objects that increase the severity of their injuries.
Some of the most common reasons for a pedestrian accident include:
- Drivers turning without yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Failing to stop for a red light or stop sign
- Merging or changing lanes without checking for pedestrians
If you or someone you know has recently been injured in a pedestrian accident in DC, you need to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
You may be eligible to recover compensation for your current and future lost wages, your pain and suffering and the medical bills associated with treating your injuries.