The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time: Car vs. Pedestrian Accidents Fault Distracted Drivers


The scene from a recent news story is tragic: a van plows into a group of pedestrians waiting at the light to cross the street. One person is even dragged by the van, and dies as a result of multiple injuries. The others sustain serious injuries. The cause: The driver was distracted reaching for a carton of milk; the van jumped the curb into the group of people, injuring those innocents who suspected nothing of the sort.

As trusting as those pedestrians were, and as trusting as we are when we are on a street corner waiting to cross the street, accidents like this happen in New York and other cities all the time as a result of driver distraction and unsafe driving practices. These stories are especially tragic when they involve one car and multiple pedestrians.

It’s not earth-shattering news when we acknowledge that multitasking has become a way of life. What’s even more astounding, however, is that many of those tasks now take place primarily in our vehicles. We text, we read, we call, we eat, we do everything except what we’re supposed to do… drive. Even those of us at the street corner waiting to cross the street are checking our text messages, or talking on the phone, and paying attention to everything except traffic, pedestrian signals or oncoming vehicles.

Over 4,000 pedestrians are killed in car vs. pedestrian accidents annually. What are some of the distractions that drivers encounter when they are supposed to be paying attention to the road or to pedestrians nearby?

  • Texting and phone calls on cell phones
  • Fatigue
  • Vision obstruction: sun in the eyes, another vehicle in the way
  • Looking in the back seat to tend to children or reach for a purse or bag behind the seat
  • Reaching for something in the passenger seat
  • Eating in the car with one (or both) hands
  • Alcohol impairment

As a pedestrian, it’s not safe to assume that the driver will pay attention to the traffic signals, or even see you if he’s doing something else. That’s why it becomes even more important for you to pay attention while waiting in an area where there is traffic. Precautions such as wearing reflective or brighter clothing if you are walking in the dark will increase the chances of the driver seeing you. Using designated crosswalks will add to your safety, as well as facing traffic if you do have to walk along the roadway.

If you have been injured in a car vs. pedestrian accident, there will be a few different versions of the story: yours versus the driver. Other witnesses may or may not be in a condition to provide an accurate account of what happened if they, too, have been injured. Multiple parties mean multiple stories. A free evaluation of your case is the first place to start and our firm will be ready to assist you when needed.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.