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Pedestrian Accidents in Texas: Things You Need to Know

Pedestrians are vulnerable road users because they don’t always pay attention to vehicles around them. They often walk into traffic without looking both ways, cross streets without paying attention to cars approaching, and fail to yield to drivers turning left onto busy roads. Pedestrians also tend to assume drivers see them, even though many drivers aren’t watching the road ahead.

In Texas, it’s against state law to text while driving. But there are no such restrictions on talking on cell phones. This makes it easy for distracted texters to cause a collision with a pedestrian.

The same goes for texting and emailing. In fact, according to NHTSA data, nearly half of all fatal crashes involve some form of distraction.

Texas is one of just three states where pedestrians have no legal obligation to yield to motorists turning left. Drivers must signal their intentions, but pedestrians don’t have to do anything except wait for the green light.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,977 pedestrians died in pedestrian accidents in the US in 2017. This number represents a slight decrease compared to 2016 when there were 5,982 deaths. However, it is still a disturbing figure. On average, a pedestrian dies every 88 minutes.

In Texas, 617 pedestrians were killed in 2018. This is up slightly from 2017 when there were 614 fatalities. While some of this increase can likely be attributed to better reporting and increased awareness about pedestrian safety, the fact remains that Texas continues to rank among the deadliest states for pedestrians.

Texas is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous states in America for pedestrians. For example, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Texas had the highest fatality rates per mile driven in 2017.

Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Pedestrians are completely unprotected. They don’t wear seat belts as motorists do. And unlike motor vehicle drivers and passengers who are protected by airbags, there are no safety devices designed specifically for pedestrians. So while most people know that wearing a helmet is important for motorcycle riders, few realize that helmets aren’t required for pedestrians. In fact, many believe that wearing one is optional. But the truth is that walking around without a helmet could put you at risk for head trauma.

The result of this lack of protective gear is that pedestrian accidents often lead to serious injury and even death, especially among children and older adults. Pedestrian accidents account for over half of all fatal traffic crashes involving children under age 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In addition to head injuries, common pedestrian accident injuries include broken bones, internal bleeding, spinal cord damage, brain hemorrhages, and traumatic brain injuries.

Texas Right-Of-Way Laws for Pedestrians

Pedestrians are required to follow certain rules under Texas law. These rules vary depending on where you live, what type of street you're walking on, whether it's a marked crosswalk or even weather conditions. Here are some basic tips for navigating streets safely.

1. Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. Sidewalks provide a safe area for people to walk without having to worry about cars driving around them. They also make it easier for drivers to see you.

2. Don't assume that drivers know you're there. Always look both ways before stepping off the curb. Drivers don't always notice pedestrians, especially if they're wearing dark clothing. Make eye contact with drivers to let them know you're aware of their presence.

3. Watch out for vehicles turning across your path. When you're near a crosswalk, watch for approaching vehicles making a turn. This gives you enough time to step into the crosswalk and avoid being hit.

4. Pay attention to traffic signals. Traffic lights help guide drivers and pedestrians alike. If you're waiting at a red light, try to position yourself so that you'll be able to cross once the light turns green.

5. Cross at intersections with pedestrian signals. You won't have to wait long for a green light. And since drivers are supposed to stop for pedestrians, you'll have plenty of room to cross the intersection.

6. Be careful when walking along railroad tracks. Trains travel very fast, and they often run late. If you're walking along a track, pay attention to trains traveling in either direction. If one approaches, move away from the edge of the track until the train passes.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced accident lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your accident case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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