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Houston we have a problem – pedestrian accidents!



A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report indicates a rise in fatal accidents involving pedestrians and a last few years. In Houston specifically annual pedestrian fatalities increased over 10% in 2014 over the preceding year and in 2016 the fatality rate of pedestrian accidents looks to be up over 30%.


As referenced in a chron.com article, at least 71 pedestrians have been killed in Houston prior to November of this year. See: http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-pedestrian-deaths-rise-dramatically-this-10591706.php


Quite a few pedestrian accidents occur in the Houston area because people are trying to cross a highway. The speeds of the vehicles combined with a lack of places to cross safely lead to many pedestrian accidents in our great city.


Pedestrians should always cross in a crosswalk and at the same time expect the approaching traffic to do the unexpected. As with vehicles, just because you may have the right-of-way at a stoplight does not mean you will not be in an accident. Always look before you cross the road and try to make eye contact with the drivers approaching the intersection.


The Houston police department also suggests that you obey all traffic signals of walk or don’t walk. Additionally, when there are multiple lanes make sure you can see each lane of traffic is clear before proceeding across the intersection. To view the safety recommendations click here.


Walking at night can be especially dangerous as motorist have trouble seeing some pedestrians in the dark. It is recommended that pedestrians walking at night where bright clothing, preferably reflective and carry a flashlight turned on to further highlight their presence.


Just as with drivers, do not text and drive and avoid wearing ear buds or ear phones when walking as you may not be able to hear approaching traffic.


Finally, always walk on the sidewalk if available and if not you should endeavor to walk on the shoulder of the road and face oncoming traffic.


Unfortunately, the rate of pedestrian deaths in Houston are growing in part because of the lack of options for pedestrians. Houston’s lack of zoning must be one factor in our high rate of pedestrian accidents. Also, the rise of the smart phone in the last decade have increase the number of accidents that could have been avoided if Texas adopted and enforced an anti-texting statute for the entire state.


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Baumgartner Law Firm



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