North Carolina Safety Program Recognized Amid National Spike in Pedestrian Accidents

turning vehicles yield to pedestrian sign

Our attorneys highlight the information you should know

After steadily rising for 10 years, the number of serious and fatal pedestrian accidents has spiked across the U.S., putting additional emphasis on the need to improve street safety for all users.

In North Carolina, we're seeing this trend too. The number of accident-causing and deadly pedestrian crashes has almost doubled since 2010, according to state data. More than 3,000 pedestrians are hit by vehicles in North Carolina each year. About 200 or more of those crashes are fatal.

Pedestrian Safety Month

In an effort to reduce accidents, advocates are using this fall's National Pedestrian Safety Month to raise awareness of the problem and promote state programs that show results.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is promoting North Carolina's "Watch For Me NC" campaign as a national example of how to make streets safer for everyone.

The Watch for Me program uses public education, community events, and high-visibility traffic enforcement to stop pedestrian accidents. One important accomplishment, organizers say, is that many more drivers are now aware of North Carolina's law requiring vehicles to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

North Carolina pedestrian accidents

Locally, some areas are more dangerous for pedestrians than others. Annual state data and a Watch For Me study in North Carolina's Triangle area identify common traits of local accidents involving walkers, joggers, and others on foot.

Among the study's findings are:

  • In 1 out of 4 pedestrian crashes, the car was turning at an intersection or driveway prior to the collision.
  • One-third of pedestrian accidents happen in parking lots.
  • This type of accident is most likely to happen on a weekday.
  • Most crashes happen in urban areas where pedestrian activity and traffic volumes are high.
  • Rural pedestrian accidents, however, are more likely to be more severe.
  • About 16% of serious pedestrian accidents are hit-and-runs.

Why are there more pedestrian accidents now?

There are a variety of factors behind the sharp rise in people getting hit by cars. One of the biggest contributors, researchers say, is the COVID-19 pandemic. Pedestrian deaths in North Carolina accidents jumped up 11% during the pandemic economic lockdown. Many people took the open roads as an excuse to let their good driving behaviors slip and speed. The consequences have been deadly.

Other factors driving the rise in serious pedestrian accidents are population growth and the popularity of bigger vehicles like SUVs. Since the front end of an SUV is tall, it impacts a pedestrian higher on the body compared to a shorter passenger vehicle.

Wake, Harnett, and Sampson County crash Hotspots

Pedestrian and bicycle crashes are tracked, mapped, and analyzed by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. The interactive crash map the center produces shows where crash hotspots are including:

  • Sandhills Boulevard (US Highway 1), Aberdeen
  • S Eastern Boulevard (I-95/ US Highway 201), Fayetteville
  • S Saunders Street (NC Highway 50/US Highway 401), Raleigh
  • Bragg Boulevard (NC Highway 24), Spring Lake

There's no such thing as a simple crash

It may seem obvious in a pedestrian accident that the driver who hit you is at fault, but don't count on the motorist or their auto insurance company to admit that. If you were hit by a car and injured, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages (accident-related expenses).

Recovering from a bad wreck is often a long or lifetime process. With the high cost of medical care, it is important that you get a law firm that can maximize the value of your claim and fight for every dollar you're entitled to.

At Brent Adams & Associates, our attorneys are proud to protect the interests of North Carolina accident victims and hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

Contact us today for a free consultation with a North Carolina car accident lawyer you can count on in a crisis. We have offices in Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Dunn, but if you can't come to us, we'll go to you.

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