No one wants to walk on a highway. In fact, in most cases, it is illegal to do so. But sometimes a person doesn’t have a choice. Being a pedestrian can be dangerous—especially on the busy freeways around Dallas and Fort Worth.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in vehicle crashes in 2013. While fatalities decreased by two percent since 2012, pedestrian crashes are still a big concern. Consider the following statistics from 2013:
- There were 4,375 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes.
- Pedestrians accounted for 14 percent of all crash deaths.
- Twenty-one percent of all children from birth to 14 years old killed in crashes were pedestrians.
- Ninety-two percent of pedestrian fatalities involved crashes with one vehicle.
- Texas had 480 pedestrian fatalities and had the fourth highest rate of deaths nationwide.
Common Ways Pedestrians Are Hit on Highways
According to Texas law, a pedestrian must walk on the left side of the highway or the shoulder of the roadway facing traffic, if at all possible. Drivers need to be aware that pedestrians could be on the highway and must watch out for them at all times—especially since pedestrians are at much great risk for severe injuries than vehicle passengers. A pedestrian could be following the law, but still face a risk of being hit or killed by a driver. Here are some of the ways pedestrians are struck on highways:
- Crossing or entering the highway. Crossing the highway is extremely dangerous and is a common way pedestrians are hit. Often, these pedestrians are exhibiting irrational or suicidal behavior, but sometimes they are simply going to a gas station or seeking assistance with a disabled vehicle.
- Walking on the highway after dark. As highways are not lit like local streets, even pedestrians on the shoulder are difficult to see and at risk for being hit.
- Walking or standing on the shoulder of the highway. When drivers see a pedestrian on the shoulder, they can become distracted and actually drive towards the person, rather than keeping a safe distance.
- Working on a vehicle or helping at the scene of a crash. People who are changing a tire, waiting for assistance, or helping a stranded vehicle are extremely vulnerable to highway traffic.
A pedestrian’s injuries could be much more serious on a highway than in other crashes, because the person has no protection from the fast moving vehicle that hits them. He could suffer many life-threatening injuries—traumatic brain damage, spinal cord injury, organ damage, and internal bleeding—or even death.
If you or a family member was a pedestrian seriously injured in a crash, you may be able to pursue a claim against the driver who hit you for your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. Start a live chat or call us at (817) 380-4888 for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights.