We hear about it in the news frequently – serious crashes, some of them fatal. Still, many drivers don’t ever think it could happen to them.
The majority of the time, crashes are caused by careless mistakes, such as driving over the speed limit, habitual distraction and making risky maneuvers. Even if you’ve engaged in this type of behavior without any problem, here is what you should know.
Traffic fatalities remain unusually high
USA Today cited data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) making 2018 the third-deadliest of the decade on American roads. Their report stated that 36,750 people died in crashes across the United States last year, down one percent from 2017 (37,133 deaths).
In Oklahoma, 2018 saw approximately 556 statewide traffic fatalities – down from 657 in 2017.
Crash analysts place the blame on driver error. According to the NHTSA, the leading factors in 2017 traffic fatalities were:
- Speeding: 9,717 fatalities
- Drunk driving: 10,874 fatalities
- Distracted driving: 3,166 fatalities
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users
Pedestrians are at a greater risk than any other road user of sustaining severe or life-threatening injuries. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrians are at a greater risk now than ever. In 2018, there were 6,227 pedestrian fatalities across the US – up 4 percent from 2017.
The increase in pedestrian fatalities may be attributed to infrastructural flaws that fail to accommodate for pedestrians, and a rise in SUVs on our roads.
In 2018, approximately 48 pedestrians were killed on Oklahoma roads – down from 78 the prior year.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), pedestrian fatalities account for 13 percent of all statewide traffic fatalities. Roughly 72 percent of all statewide pedestrian deaths occur at intersections.
In order to decrease the dangers posed to pedestrians, ODOT plans to make improvements to roadway infrastructure, by implementing the following in high-risk areas:
- Crosswalk visibility enhancement
- Highly visible crosswalk markings
- Parking restrictions on crosswalk approaches
- Better nighttime lighting
- Yield signs for drivers and pedestrians
- Pedestrian crossing signs in the street
- Curb extensions
- Raised crosswalks
- Pedestrian refuge islands
- Pedestrian hybrid beacons
- Road diets
How Oklahoma can cut down on traffic fatalities
Preventing crashes all comes down to addressing human error. While improvements to infrastructure may reduce the likelihood of a crash being severe, drivers are still responsible for staying attentive, sober, and maintaining a safe speed.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, you have legal rights that must be upheld. Discussing your matter with an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney is critical to pursuing a solid claim. To get started, schedule your free case evaluation today by contacting Lawter & Associates Attorneys at Law PLLC.