Everyone knows that pedestrians have the right of way on the road. Striped crosswalks, stop-and-go signals, and traffic guards all serve to protect those walking on roadways. Unfortunately, however, pedestrians are often put in unnecessary danger due to their unintentional negligence, the negligence of drivers, or the lack of infrastructure. Whether it be a lack of sidewalks, pedestrian signals, or wide lanes, some cities in the US sadly prioritize traffic flow over pedestrian safety. Of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the US, the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metro area ranks 14th.
The Shocking Statistics
Within the last decade, 169 pedestrians have been struck and killed by a motor vehicle in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin area. Greenville County alone has reported 148 pedestrian deaths, with Anderson County not too far behind at 64 fatalities within the past ten years. These numbers, though very grim, do not lie in this ongoing public health and safety issue.
Unfortunately, this tragedy is not unique to the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin area either. South Carolina was ranked #13 among states with the most pedestrian deaths.
Pedestrians Not Prioritized
You may wonder why these numbers are so much higher in this area than others in the first place. Unfortunately, a significant contributing factor is departments prioritizing speed over safety and building roads’ infrastructure around that objective. Increased speed limits lead to fewer traffic delays to benefit drivers. However, pedestrians are put at serious risk of being injured and their needs are not accounted for.
According to Beth Osborne – Director of Transportation for Smart Growth America, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote safe, sustainable, and equitable development policies – the number of preventable pedestrian accidents and fatalities correlate directly with the counties’ need for speed. “This is why crosswalks are missing or too far apart, why lanes are too wide, why intersections are difficult to cross on foot, and why money can always be found to widen a road, even when adding sidewalks is deemed ‘too expensive,'” Osborne points out.
As the weather gets warmer and more people are out and about, it is more important than ever to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings when walking the streets of South Carolina. It is in your and everyone else’s best interest to remember the following:
- Obey all traffic signs and signals
- Always walk on sidewalks whenever they’re available
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic and as far away from it as possible
- Stay alert at all times; this means avoiding phone usage and headphones
- Always cross streets at proper crosswalks and intersections
- At night, walk in well-lit areas, avoid wearing dark clothing, and use a flashlight or other light source, if possible
- Never assume that a driver sees you and always make eye contact with oncoming drivers
- Be wary of cars entering or exiting driveways or parking lots
- Avoid alcohol and drugs as they impair your judgment, awareness, and abilities
Always Protecting the Good People
Even if you practice all of the safety precautions mentioned above, anything can happen. A pedestrian accident can be particularly catastrophic and severely impact a victim’s life. Therefore, you should never hesitate to consult with a lawyer after the fact to evaluate your options for recovering the compensation you may be entitled to under the law. The attorneys at Grimes Teich and Anderson are here to help you through these traumatic and often costly experiences, and we will not back down until you get the justice you deserve. Call our office at 800-533-6845 for a free injury consultation or submit a free injury case evaluation form online today.