A 31-year-old Houston man was killed after being struck by a speeding pickup truck while attempting to cross Airline Drive on Rittenhouse Street. After striking the man, the driver of the pickup truck did not stop to render aid and continued speeding down the road. Houston police were able to find and arrest the man because his license plate fell off of his truck during the auto pedestrian collision. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident; and, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found hit-and-run accidents are on the rise across the country.
Increase in Pedestrian Deaths
Fatal accidents involving pedestrians have increased over the past decade, signaling a change in driver behavior as well as an increased need for regulations designed to protect pedestrians and prosecute the drivers responsible for taking their lives. The AAA study also found that since 2006 an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred annually. These accidents resulted in the deaths of 2,049 people in 2016, a 60% increase from 2009. Additionally, the data found hit-and-run deaths have increased by a steady 7.2% each year since 2009.
The AAA study uncovered crash statistics that provided a better understanding of victim demographics for hit-and-run accidents. Nearly 65% of all hit-and-run deaths involved either a pedestrian or cyclists, and 20% of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-runs. Because pedestrians and cyclists are without the structural protection motor vehicles provide, they are more vulnerable to dangerous driving habits that cause drivers to lose focus.
Common Hazards for Pedestrians
Drivers should always remember, though it may sound silly, that pedestrians do not have airbags, seat belts, or other safety features drivers and passengers do. Even a minor accident can turn into a fatal tragedy for an exposed pedestrian or cyclist. For this reason, drivers should always exercise caution when behind the wheel, as well as follow all state traffic laws. Pedestrians face many hazards sharing the road with drivers that can be prevented by driving safely each and every time a driver or passenger gets in a car.
Texting, talking on the phone, and changing the radio station are all common behaviors drivers engage in daily that take their focus off of the road. While common, distracted driving is dangerous and can be deadly. Drivers should never text or scroll social media while driving, and should use always hands-free devices for their technology needs.
Failure to Yield
Drivers should always yield to pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Drivers should always observe and adhere to crosswalk signals and speed restrictions, such as school zones, that allow pedestrians to safely share the road with drivers.
Unfortunately, many cities across the country, like Houston, were not designed with the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in mind. While Houston has made great strides in outfitting city roads with bike lanes, trails, and crosswalks, much work remains to be done to protect the lives of all residents. Unfortunately, many pedestrians are given no choice but to cross roads without basic crosswalks or designated crossing signals. Again, drivers should always yield to pedestrians during these scenarios.
Houston Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
Every accident is tragic, and hit-and-runs are no different; however, the pain and suffering inflicted on victims and their loved ones is deeply personal, as most drivers flee the scene with little regard behind for human life. If you or a loved one was involved in a hit-and-run accident, you likely have questions the legal team at Dax Garza can answer. If you need help with a personal injury claim or hit-and-run accident, you can contact us confidentially at no cost.