Recently, a motor vehicle pedestrian accident involving a child occurred at SW Ninth Street in Des Moines. This follows a Des Moines City plan to review safety issues in the area where two other fatal vehicle pedestrian accidents involving children also occurred in 2016 and 2017. At the time of the earlier incidents, the Des Moines Register reported that the crash sites in question saw 230 crashes in the five year period leading up to the pedestrian accidents, prompting the city to take a closer look.
Every ninety minutes, pedestrians are killed by motor vehicle involved accidents in the U.S. Some studies indicate that some of the increase in pedestrian accidents correlates to the increasing number of miles Americans drive every year and certainly the potential for fatal accidents only goes up when motorists engage in distracted driving, impaired driving, or are just traveling too fast. However, putting the number of cars on the road and driver behaviors aside, it is also important to consider how the design of a road can also pose a risk to pedestrians of being struck by a vehicle.
Roads with high speed limits, poor signage, lack of traffic controls, and fewer places to cross can put pedestrians at higher risk. The danger only goes up in areas with more foot traffic such as retail locations and schools, which of course are also frequented by motorists. Studies show that pedestrian deaths and severe injuries often occur more frequently on a smaller percentage of streets, underscoring just how important street design can be in high pedestrian traffic areas.
Street Design that Factors in Human Error May Save Lives
Many cities across the country share Des Moines residents’ concerns regarding pedestrian safety. Several major cities across the nation have adopted Vision Zero, a transportation safety initiative whose philosophy is that traffic fatalities, including those that involve pedestrians, are preventable through a “systems-based approach” that includes lowering speed limits in certain areas or separating pedestrians from traffic. Vision Zero proposes that infrastructure and policy be designed to account for human error and that thoughtful engineering can play a role in safer streets. After adopting changes under Vision Zero, New York City saw a 30 percent drop in fatalities and San Francisco saw a 40 percent drop, underscoring that a proactive approach to preventing traffic fatalities can work.
Humphrey Law Firm protects the rights of everyday people who have sustained serious injuries. Attorney Marc A. Humphrey is a renowned trial lawyer with more than three decades of experience and handles a broad range of personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents and wrongful death.