By Jordan W. Charness
As far as I’m concerned, the day I wrote this was really the first day of Spring: it was sunny and warm and absolutely gorgeous out. It was a great day to wash and wax the cars and actually go for a drive just for the fun of driving. It was also one of those days when driving actually felt like driving, as opposed to trying to navigate slippery streets and potholes.
Some people had even taken their sports cars out of storage and the sounds of V8 engines chugging back super expensive gasoline was in the air. Even though it was still rather nippy out, people loved the feel of the Sun in their face even if it was through the windshield of a car.
Of course, the first bright warm sunny day of the year not only brings out drivers and their cars. It also brings out pedestrians of all ages just walking about enjoying the lovely Spring weather. With so many people either walking or driving, the roads were many times more crowded than they are during the heart of the winter season.
Even though it is technically much more dangerous to drive during a blizzard, more accidents happen this time of year than at any other time. Everybody wants to be outside. Everybody wants to feel the warm sunshine, and nobody is paying enough attention to their surroundings.
Statistics show that in the past year, the number of collisions has remained relatively stable overall. What is interesting to note however is that although accidents causing severe injuries had been declining, they are now starting to rise once again.
An even more interesting statistic is that the majority of road accidents that caused death in urban settings were not between two vehicles. The majority of accident victims were pedestrians; pedestrians are getting hit by cars much too often.
Generally speaking, according to law, any accident between a motor vehicle and pedestrian is deemed to be the motorist’s fault. Although this presumption is not guaranteed and can be rebutted when the actual facts show that the pedestrian stepped out into traffic, in the majority of cases it is the motorist’s fault for not paying attention or for driving too fast on an urban street.
In any accident causing injury or death between a motorist and a pedestrian the police will thoroughly investigate what happened and will very often end up laying charges against the driver for anything from a speeding ticket to negligent driving causing death which could lead to years in jail.
To make matters worse, the latest statistics show that of those pedestrians who were hit by cars and who died, almost two thirds were older victims, aged 60 and over.
While statistics don’t give reasons for why there’s such a disproportionate number of seniors being killed by cars it is likely that older people don’t have the same hearing and reflexes that younger people do, and they may not have noticed an oncoming car or been able to jump out of the way as quickly as someone many years their junior.
We were all taught in driver’s education that if we see a bouncing ball rolling out to the street, we should be on the lookout for a young child chasing it. We are also taught to be extremely careful in school zones and playground areas and anywhere else where we see children walking on the streets or sidewalks.
Perhaps it’s also time to bear in mind the statistics and keep an extra vigilant eye whenever we see older people about to cross the street or walking alongside the road. After all, even if an accident is deemed not to be the driver’s fault, the trauma of injuring or killing a pedestrian, whether young or old, will stay with that driver forever.