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Texas ranks high in pedestrian fatalities

Walking is one of the most perfect ways to get around. It is healthy, efficient and environmentally friendly. If you walk regularly for these or other reasons, you may not limit yourself to the beautiful trails in the Dallas area. In fact, walking is something you do even if you're just crossing a parking lot between your car and the grocery store.

Unfortunately, one of the main drawbacks of being a pedestrian is the lack of protection from motor vehicles. Drivers, especially those with high profile vehicles, have an obligation to keep alert for walkers. Judging from the latest statistics of traffic safety, this is happening less often. Studies show that Texas has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths.

Why the rise in accidents?

If a vehicle strikes you while you are walking, you are vulnerable to serious, even life-threatening injuries, including brain and spinal cord injuries. The types of injuries you may suffer after a pedestrian accident may take years of medical treatment to regain a quality of life. Sadly, this is the case for more and more pedestrians. The latest data from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that fatal pedestrian accidents have risen 35 percent over the past decade. Some reasons why include the following:

  • Very few cities have pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, such as raised crosswalks or protected intersections.
  • Distracted drivers are not only a danger to each other, but they place you at risk if you happen to be walking in the same vicinity.
  • Drivers tend to be less alert for pedestrians after dark.
  • Alcohol plays a huge factor in many pedestrian accidents, perhaps at a higher rate than the numbers show because many pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run.
  • Speeding drivers have a lower chance of getting their vehicles stopped before hitting you.
  • More drivers are operating SUVs and larger vehicles that reduce their ability to see things with smaller profiles, such as motorcycles, bikers, children and other pedestrians.

In fact, the rate of pedestrian-versus-SUV accidents has increased 50 percent in recent years. The chances that you will suffer fatal injuries if you encounter an SUV are nearly three times higher than if a smaller vehicle strikes you.

If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in an accident as a pedestrian, you may focus your energy on getting your life back to some kind of normalcy. This may be difficult if you are struggling with medical bills, ongoing treatment, funeral expenses or the devastating loss of someone in your family. You may find that taking advantage of the many resources -- medical, psychological and legal -- can help you see a brighter future.

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