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West Virginia wrestles with pedestrian accidents

The number of accidents involving pedestrians in the United States and in West Virginia – both fatal and non-fatal – has jumped in the past 10 years.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, in the U.S. there were 70,286 non-fatal pedestrian injuries while there were 85,312 such injuries in 2016. In 2007, there were 4,699 fatalities among pedestrians while in 2016, there were 5,987.

Meanwhile, the number of pedestrian deaths in West Virginia have jumped from a high of 31 to a low of 13:

  • 2007 – 27
  • 2008 – 13
  • 2009 – 21
  • 2010 – 13
  • 2011 – 20
  • 2012 – 31
  • 2013 – 28
  • 2014 – 19
  • 2015 – 19
  • 2016 – 24

Reasons for pedestrian injuries

Experts say there are several reasons for the national increase in pedestrian fatalities and injuries. They include cheaper gas, more cars on the road and an increase in both distracted driving and walking thanks to handheld devices. 

Distraction is the No. 3 cause of pedestrian death behind speeding and failure to yield, according to the Active Transportation Alliance. 

Other factors include alcohol use by both drivers and pedestrians, and lighting. The group says most pedestrian accidents occur in the dark. 

Attempt to make walking more safe

The Morgantown City Council put the responsibility of coming up with suggestions for improvement to a citizen board. The board’s report, issued in 2010, offered several recommendations: 

  • Adopt sidewalk and crosswalk standards
  • Create a pedestrian sidewalk infrastructure throughout the city
  • Improve intersection safety
  • Expand the use of trail systems such as the riverfront and Decker’s Creek
  • Improve lighting along streets and trails
  • Ensure compliance with ADA standards
  • Establish a fee to maintain and improve sidewalks
  • Create a sidewalk maintenance policy and enforce it

The number of pedestrians in West Virginia suffering injuries or being killed is on the rise. If you or a loved one has been injured by a car while walking, contact a qualified, experienced attorney to help explain your medical, insurance and legal rights.

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