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Pedestrian fatalities, injuries decrease in last decade

New Jersey residents may be shocked to learn that 12 pedestrians are killed nationwide every day in accidents involving motor vehicles. Plus, one pedestrian is injured every seven seconds by a motor vehicle. In 2012, that added up to 4,743 people killed and 76,000 injured, says the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Information Center, quoting the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

These pedestrian accident figures represent a decrease from 2001 when 4,901 pedestrians were killed and 78,000 injured, though the center says the injury statistics may be skewed because police do not record all pedestrian injuries. The center says the statistics raise other questions, including whether walking is getting safer or if the drop is due to fewer people walking. Pedestrian fatalities account for 14 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, the center says no one has reliable statistics on the number of people walking, how far they walk and why they walk.

While there are some risks involved in walking, as with any transportation, walking is a healthy activity. Fewer people exercising by walking means more people dying of heart attacks and strokes.

Pedestrians are usually injured more severely when hit by cars than if they were passengers. To help avoid pedestrian accidents, people should stay alert when they're walking and may not want to walk between 8 p.m. and midnight since that is when most pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents take place. Pedestrians also may not to walk when they've been drinking, since 34 percent of pedestrians killed had blood alcohol content levels of .08 percent or higher. Even when pedestrians practice safe walking, accidents can still happen. When the vehicle driver caused the accident, pedestrians may want to consult a personal injury attorney to find out what their rights are.

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center , "Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics", November 18, 2014

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