According to an article from St. Louis Public Radio, deadly car accidents involving pedestrians have been on a rapid rise since 2021. “Across St. Louis and St. Louis County, 42 people on foot were killed by motorists [in 2021], and another 395 were injured.” This report is the first time since 2002 that traffic fatalities in the county collectively topped 100 deaths.

What is the perceived reason behind the recent increase? Why does it seem that ever since Covid-19 pandemic-era shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders ceased near the end of 2020 that car accidents of all kinds—but primarily those involving pedestrians—have become more frequent? The answers may be more complicated than you think.

Why More Pedestrians are Being Struck by Vehicles

Though it can seem like the easiest answer to this scenario is that pedestrians must not be crossing roads inside crosswalks or other safe locations, the reality is that most pedestrians are being struck by cars because their drivers are paying less attention to the road than they should be. It also doesn’t help that St. Louis is a city built to accommodate 1 million residents, but the current population is only hovering around 300,000. With wide roads and fewer cars occupying them, there’s a higher tendency of speeding and unsafe maneuvering taking place.

But when looking at how things have changed specifically since the Covid-19 pandemic, it really all comes back to the attention and intentions of drivers. There seems to have been a collective shift in people to be less patient when traveling to and from their destinations, causing them to speed unnecessarily or make driving decisions and maneuvers that are unsafe. At the same time, there has been an increase in distracted driving during the last few years, with people keeping their eyes on their phones, the radio, other passengers in their car, and more instead of on the road.

There’s no hard evidence pointing to the cause behind these changes in driving behavior, but there are some assumptions to be drawn by looking at the timeframe during which accidents have started to increase, and the manner in which they are occurring. Pedestrian accidents aren’t only happening in undesignated walking areas—they even occur at labeled crosswalks, in stopped traffic, and in general scenarios where pedestrians have the right of way. So the assumption to make is that drivers have become more distracted and reckless, and these shifts in attention spans and expectations fueled by pandemic-era behavior may be to blame.

How to Protect Yourself from Being Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

As a pedestrian, be extremely vigilant as you navigate your course, especially through high-traffic areas. Though it is always the driver’s responsibility to make sure they don’t strike a pedestrian whether they are in a crosswalk or not, take extra precaution by never crossing a street—no matter how seemingly quiet—without a crosswalk or before it is your designated turn to cross. It is never worth your life to opt out of walking a few additional yards down to the corner crosswalk so you can cross safely.

Even when it is your safe and legal turn to cross the street, always be hyper aware of the cars around you. This is especially true for any cars making right-hand turns on a red light. They are legally permitted to do so but are required to wait until any pedestrians have safely crossed to the other side. Many cars don’t wait—and will often attempt to make the turn before pedestrians even start crossing—so always keep an eye out for these right-turning drivers before stepping into the crosswalk. Also be sure to cross quickly if you’re able to; don’t dally in the street or make yourself less visible by doing something like bending down to tie your shoe or pick up that dropped penny.

As a driver, be steadfast about always obeying posted speed limits and traffic signs, and keep your attention on the road to the very best of your abilities. Pedestrians can sometimes be hard to spot amidst the other cars around you or if they end up in your blind spot, which can make them feel like they’ve “appeared out of nowhere.” So take turns slow, and give pedestrians the right of way wherever they are—even if they happen to be crossing illegally or walking somewhere they are not permitted. Though they are in the wrong, in the end, the driver is the one who is licensed to safely operate the multi-ton vehicle they are in control of, and part of that duty of care means taking every precaution to not cause harm or damage to others if it can be prevented.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

Unfortunately, our law firm has seen an increase in the number of pedestrian accident claims and cases that aligns with the trends the city of St. Louis has recently reported on. Though it concerns us to see this rise in these types of accidents, as a pedestrian, you should never shy away from regaining the damages or additional compensation you deserve if you were struck by a vehicle. You have rights to exercise if a car strikes you, and this is true whether you were walking somewhere you should have been or not.

Of course, where and how you were struck may have an effect on the outcome of your case and the damages you can claim, but even so, it’s important to hold the driver in question responsible for their actions. Because these types of accidents have a tendency to quickly become complicated, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in pedestrian accidents so they can help you navigate your case.

Take the Next Step Towards Justice

Pedestrian car accidents are on the rise, and knowing your rights is crucial. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a negligent driver, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. At Finney Injury Law, we’re committed to helping victims seek justice and secure the compensation they deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation at 314-293-4222. Let’s work together to hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure you receive the support you need. Reach out now and take the first step towards recovery and justice.

Posted Under: Personal Injury, Premise Liability

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