Pedestrian safety and rights take center stage

Among recent headlines that some Utah residents may have seen in the Salt Lake Tribune is an article detailing the death of a 27-year old pedestrian and father of three in Clearfield. The man died from injuries sustained when he was hit by a car operated by an alleged drunk driver. The vehicle's driver has subsequently been charged with second degree felony automotive homicide.

Stories like these are all too common and they highlight the dangers associated with being a pedestrian on our area streets. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration back up the concern, especially for residents of Salt Lake County where more than 60 percent of all 2012 fatalities from pedestrian accidents in the state took place.

The bigger picture

In all of Utah in 2012, 28 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents. Of those, 17 were in Salt Lake County. Only six other counties in the state had any pedestrian deaths. Four pedestrians lost their lives in Davis County and two each died in Utah and Weber Counties. Three additional counties each lost one pedestrian life in 2012.

More details from the NHTSA include the following:

  • The 17 pedestrian deaths in Salt Lake County accounted for 26.5 percent of all vehicular fatalities in the county.
  • Statewide, pedestrian deaths accounted for less than 13 percent of all vehicular fatalities in the county in 2012.
  • Salt Lake County represented close to 30 percent of all automotive accident deaths in the state, half of its rate of pedestrian accident deaths.
  • In comparison to the 17 pedestrian deaths, Salt Lake County saw five motorcycle fatalities.

All in all, the risk to pedestrians in Salt Lake County is clear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pedestrian is more likely to die after being in an automotive accident than a corresponding vehicle passenger by as much as 1.5 percent.

How can victims get help?

The right to safety when on foot whether walking through a parking lot or jogging along a sidewalk is something that all South Jordan residents should be able to trust in. Even when following all laws, wearing bright or reflective items to increase visibility and walking against the flow of traffic on streets without sidewalks, pedestrians can still be hit by cars, trucks, SUVs or other larger vehicles.

In cases like these, calling an attorney as soon as possible is highly important. The right legal input can go a long way toward securing the level of compensation that is appropriate for the victim and his or her family members.