August 5, 1997 in City

Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents On Rise In State Police Official Warns Walkers That Cars Always Come Out Ahead In Collisions

Hal Spencer Associated Press
 

They’re impaled on the bumper, thrown over the hood, dragged by the axle and squashed under the rear tires. They’re the nearly 2,000 people struck each year by motor vehicles in Washington.

What’s more, a study released Monday said, pedestrian-vehicle “collisions” are on the rise.

In 1992, there were 1,804 such accidents. In 1995, there were 1,945, a 7.2 percent increase.

About 5 percent of the 11,160 people hit over the six years were killed, about 22 percent suffered disabling injury and about 47 percent suffered “evident injury,” the state Department of Transportation study of accident data found.

While the study assigns drivers plenty of blame, it also confirms what Seattle police spokeswoman Christie-Lynne Bonner has to say about some of the victims.

“The pedestrian can be wrong too. The person who is walking doesn’t have the right to cross at any time,” she said Monday.

Even when drivers are required to yield, the walker should be careful. “I have not heard of any pedestrian coming out ahead” when car and walker meet, she said, adding that vehicles do terrible things to pedestrians.

Pedestrians “can be thrown, trapped under the car and dragged … I don’t think most people are knowledgeable enough about physics to understand how incredible the impact can be. There’s a tremendous amount of impact,” she said.

Drivers, meanwhile, should remember that “if you think you’re running late, you’re going to be running real late if you end up hitting somebody, let alone the grief and guilt you’ll feel for many years to come,” Bonner said.

xxxx When steel meets flesh These were among the findings on state car-pedestrian accidents: The most common contributing factor to an accident is the driver’s failure to give way to a pedestrian. That factor far overshadows others such as “inattention,” drunkenness or speeding. About 9 percent of pedestrians had been drinking before being hit, and drivers about 4 percent. Friday is the worst day of the week for pedestrians, when there were 2,000 auto-pedestrian accidents over the six-year period. Sunday was the safest with about 900 such accidents The worst time of the day for pedestrians is between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., when the greatest number of accidents occur. For youngsters, it is 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., corresponding with school hours. The worst months are also the darkest - November, December and January. Pedestrians 65 and older are involved in relatively few accidents but proportionately, far more of those who are die as a result.


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