According to recent studies and police statistics gathered in Nova Scotia and Toronto, collisions between pedestrians and vehicles in crosswalks have been increasing. Police say the number of pedestrian fatalities has reached a 10-year high. As of Dec. 20, 2013, 39 people died in Toronto.
As of Dec. 24, 2013, 25 pedestrians were involved in auto accidents in Halifax. A councilman for Halifax chairs a committee dedicated to finding ways to reduce the number of deaths and injuries at intersections. He is aware that many Halifax crosswalks could use design changes; however, he says that many drivers and pedestrians are not aware of the basic crosswalk rules.
A Dalhousie University group published a study that evaluated 74,000 accidents between 2007 and 2011 in Nova Scotia. According to the statistics, in 46 percent of accidents, the pedestrians were not at fault. In addition, in 44 percent of the collisions, pedestrians were inside crosswalks or marked crossings near intersections. However, in other instances, pedestrians were distracted by cellphones or other gadgets and did not look before entering an intersection.
A professor who was involved in the study urges drivers and pedestrians to make eye contact before the pedestrian crosses. He says that advertising campaigns to raise awareness are needed as well as additional police presence at intersections with high rates of accidents. Lastly, he suggests improving dangerous intersections by painting stripes that are more visible and installing traffic lights.
When vehicles and pedestrians collide, the pedestrian is often injured or killed. When a distracted driver hits and kills a pedestrian, the family might be entitled to compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney may evaluate the case to determine whether they are eligible for compensation.
Source: Truro Daily News, “Surge in crosswalk collisions ‘grabs you right in the stomach’“, January 01, 2014