Are pedestrians safe in Virginia?

Between 2011 and 2015 between 73 and 97 pedestrians died each year in Virginia. So far in 2017 there have been two pedestrians injured in Roanoke City.

With summer in full swing, more and more people in Virginia may find themselves outside. Whether our for a run or walk to get some exercise or simply crossing a street or even walking through a parking lot from a car to a store, life can find people on foot needing to navigate traffic.

Even at a slow speed, when a pedestrian is hit by a car, it is the pedestrian who stands to be at greater risk of injury or death than the driver. From people who choose to text while driving, operate vehicles after drinking or using drugs, fatigued truckers and more, there are many dangers that await pedestrians.

So, just how safe are pedestrians in Virginia?

Pedestrian accidents in the news

Media reports give a glimpse into the serious nature of pedestrian accidents. In June of 2017, a woman was walking along the side of a road in James City when a sport utility vehicle went off the road and struck her. The Virginia Gazette reported that the woman, who was 50 years old, was declared dead at the scene of the crash.

Also in June of 2017, WSLS.com explained how in Roanoke City a woman was hit not by one but by two vehicles. After being struck by the first vehicle, she was thrown into another lane of traffic and hit by a second vehicle. She was pinned under that vehicle. The woman was killed in the accident.

Statistics show the history of pedestrian accidents

Records from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle show that in Roanoke City, there were four pedestrians injured in 2016. So far in 2017, there have been two. Statewide, 42 pedestrians died between January 1 and May 31, 2016. During the same period in 2017, that number is 35.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks pedestrian fatalities by state and by county. Between 2011 and 2015, Virginia has experienced an up-and-down trend when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. One year things appear to get better only to get worse the following year.

In 2012, there were 97 pedestrians killed in the state. This represented a significant jump from the 73 the year before and was followed by a decline to 75 in 2013. Then, in 2014, 88 people on foot lost their lives. Another 77 died in 2015.

In Roanoke City, five pedestrians died over those five years. In Roanoke County, six pedestrians were killed between 2011 and 2015.

Pedestrians deserve to be safe

People in Virginia should be able to walk on sidewalks, streets, paths and in crosswalks and trust that they will be safe. Sadly this is not always the case. When an accident happens, those involved or their loved ones should reach out to an attorney for help to seek appropriate compensation.