As one can imagine, accidents involving a vehicle striking a pedestrian very often involve serious personal injuries. Injuries from such accidents often result in significant medical expenses and lengthy periods of time lost from work; there are many cases involving permanent injuries that drastically alter a person’s ability to return to a normal life.
Massachusetts Law Regarding the Use of Crosswalks
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 89, Section 11 states, in pertinent part:
When traffic signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk . . . if the pedestrian is on that half of the traveled part of the way on which the vehicle is traveling or if the pedestrian approaches from the opposite half of the traveled part of the way to within 10 feet of the half of the traveled part of the way on which said vehicle is traveling.
Rhode Island General Laws Section 31-18-3 reads very similar to Massachusetts, as does Connecticut General Law Section 14-300. In short, a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian within a crosswalk on their side of the road, or if the pedestrian is in the crosswalk and within 10 feet of the side of the road the driver is traveling. According to the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual, pedestrians must obey orange and white WALK and DON’T WALK signals. Pedestrians already in the crosswalk when the countdown reaches zero have the right-of-way — take heed, cab drivers in Boston! The manual also states that drivers must always yield to pedestrians already in the roadway. If a light turns green, a driver must still yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Crosswalk and Pedestrian Accidents Statistics
According to the National Highway Safety Administration fact sheet, there are some interesting trends in the data related to pedestrian accidents:
- 69% of pedestrians killed in 2012 and 2013 in the United States were males.
- Not surprisingly, almost 75% of all pedestrian fatalities occur in an urban area, and over 25% of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6 and 8:59 p.m.
- 34% of pedestrians killed in 2012 and 2013 had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 g/dl or higher.
- Pedestrians aged 65 and older accounted for 20% of the pedestrian fatalities and children aged 5 to 15 accounted for 18% of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes.
- In Massachusetts, of the 349 total traffic fatalities in 2012, over 20% of those were pedestrians (72).
Safety Tips to Avoid Crosswalk Accidents
While all of these tips may seem like common sense, they are still worth repeating, as over 4,000 people in the United States died in pedestrian accidents in 2012, and over 76,000 pedestrians were injured that same year. In order to better protect yourself while walking in a crosswalk or as a pedestrian in general, it is highly recommended to always walk on a sidewalk whenever one is available. In the event that no sidewalk exists, walk facing traffic. Wear bright colored clothing and do not wear headphones or talk on a cell phone when crossing a road, even if you are in a crosswalk. Carrying a flashlight at night will make you far more visible to drivers. Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing a road, so nothing impairs drivers’ ability to spot you before it is too late.
In Massachusetts, the no-fault insurance system in place allows crosswalk and pedestrian accident victims to recover the costs of at least part of their medical treatments and lost wages through the negligent driver’s insurance or through the personal injury protection the injured pedestrian obtained through their own automobile insurance policy. The attorneys at Keches Law Group are here to assist you if you have been injured in a crosswalk accident or as a pedestrian in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Connecticut.
Have you or someone you know been injured in a crosswalk accident, or injured while crossing a road due to a motor vehicle striking you? If so, you very well may have a legal claim against the driver who caused the accident. Contact Keches Law Group today to have an experienced attorney evaluate your claim and assist you in pursuing the compensation you may be entitled to. Call us at 617-898-0808, or visit our website and chat with us online.