Posts Tagged ‘fatality’

Two Pedestrians, Including One Teen, Killed While Crossing Streets

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Pedestrians At Risk

Pedestrians At Risk

Two pedestrians, including one teen, were struck and killed by separate cars in Lexington, Kentucky.  It appears that both accidents may have happened at night or at times of low visibility.  No information existed on whether the accidents occurred at intersections or crosswalks or in low lighted areas.  One of the drivers faces pending criminal charges for hit and run.  No criminal charges were reported in the other accident.

I recently reported on the Louisville area’s poor ranking for pedestrian accidents.  These recent accidents show that pedestrian fatalities continue to be a concern.  However, the most striking result of the Courier Journal’s article is not the discussion on ways to improve the situation, but instead the discussion on who was to blame for the accidents.  I heard many comment that since they had observed pedestrians crossing traffic illegally at one time or the other, the pedestrians were to blame.  This argument is similar to comments I hear when the subject of bicycle fatalities arises.

Blaming the victims of these terrible accidents does nothing to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.  Each accident is different and when it comes to blame, experience tells me there is plenty to go around.  While the lack of a citation may evidence a lack of criminal responsibility, it does not mean the accident was the pedestrian’s fault.  In fact, the driver may still face civil liability for the accident.

We have all experienced a situation where a pedestrian did not exercise the best judgment concerning where to cross, the type of clothing to wear, or the proper respect to show an oncoming car.  However, that fact alone does not excuse drivers from exercising caution or doing their best to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.  This is true whether or not the pedestrian is exercising judgment for their own safety.  Ultimately, nothing will reduce these accidents, if pedestrians and drivers fail to respect each other’s right to use the roadway.

Accidents Involving 16-19 Year Olds Higher Than For Any Other Age Group

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Accidents involving teen drivers cost more than $34 billion in ‘06.  That’s billion, with a “B”.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes are higher for the 16-19 year old age group than for any other.  This massive figure includes $9.8 billion related to fatal crashes. Unfortunately, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, accounting for 36 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to reduce and even prevent these tragic results.  According to AAA, graduated driver’s licensing programs (GDL) have a significant reduction in teen crashes and deaths. Every state has some form of GDL, including Kentucky. There is also much that parents can do.  For example, limit driving to purposeful trips with a anticipated start and finish. Parents can also limit teen driving at night, in bad weather, and during rush hour.

Driving is a right of passage for any teen.  Talk frequently with your teen about the responsibilities associated with driving.  Insure that your teen has the proper amount of time and instruction operating a vehicle with a parent or other licensed adult present.  Don’t assume just because your teen has passed his state mandated driver’s exam that he or she is ready, willing or able to assume a position behind the wheel.  The good news is the risk involved appears to decline as your child ages.  The risk for accidents is twice as high for 16 year olds as it is for 18 or 19 year olds.  While no amount of care can prevent all accidents, with time and proper preparation you can reduce the chance that your teen will be involved in an accident, and especially those involving a fatality.