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Reducing speed should reduce the number of pedestrian deaths

Whether it is to better one's health, to enjoy nice weather or just to reduce the cost of transportation, there are a number of people in Herkimer County and across upstate New York who are choosing to walk instead of drive. It is undeniable that there are benefits to walking, but there are also risks, too. Pedestrian accidents can be serious and sometimes fatal. Moreover, drivers don't always pay attention to pedestrians, which puts them in even greater risk of danger.

There are a number of safety campaigns in place around the country to lower the risk of pedestrian accidents, but the number of pedestrian fatalities has actually risen since 2009. It appears, however, that the first half of 2013 actually had fewer fatal pedestrian crashes than the first six months of 2012, a first since 2009.

What is truly important when talking about pedestrian safety, however, is reducing drivers' speed. The faster a car is traveling at the time of impact, the higher the risk of severe injury or death. According to the former chief scientist for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when someone is hit by a car that is going faster than 20 mph, the impact is more likely to be fatal.

Although not all serious or fatal pedestrian accidents are the drivers' fault, when they are, it is possible for the pedestrian or his or her family to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. If a driver caused an accident because he or she failed to notice a pedestrian, there is a problem.

Source: Forbes, "Pedestrian Deaths Down In First Half of 2013, Report Says," Tanya Mohn, March 5, 2014

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