Thousands of injuries every year occur in accidents caused when motorists crash into disabled vehicles that have been parked onto the side of the road and are not visible to motorists.
According to a new report published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these accidents result in hundreds of fatalities every year. The data analyzed revealed that there were 566 car accident fatalities between 2016 and 2018, all involving accidents featuring a disabled or stopped vehicle. In all of these accidents, visibility was rated as a likely factor in the accident. These accidents resulted in more than 14,371 injuries, and cost more than $8.8 billion in lost income and other accident-related losses.
Visibility is often a major factor in these accidents. The researchers found that 95% of accidents involving stopped vehicles featured a vehicle crashing into the stationary or stopped vehicle. More than 50% of the fatalities involved a car hitting a person who was walking back to the stopped vehicle or working on the disabled vehicle. As many as one in 5 severe injuries were the result of such pedestrian motorists walking around the disabled car. When the stopped vehicle situation occurs at night, it makes the chances of a collision ever more imminent.
Motorists walking outside the disabled vehicle may be at serious risk of injuries, or even deaths, when they are hit by vehicles. In fact, these types of accidents kill as many as 300 pedestrians annually. What is even more worrisome is that the number of these fatalities have actually increased by 25% since 2014.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that this increase in injuries and deaths involving pedestrian drivers of a disabled vehicle are part of a larger problem involving pedestrian safety. An earlier study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that approximately 800 pedestrian fatalities every year are caused in accidents on American interstates and freeways. About 18% are caused in accidents involving disabled vehicles. First responders are also at a high risk of being injured in such accidents when they respond to an accident scene.
As many as one-third of these accidents involved vehicles whose hazard lights were on at the time of the accident. Therefore, lack of hazard lights is not a factor in the high incidence of these accidents. Research, however, has shown that enhancements to current hazard lighting systems that are designed to flash frequently and brightly, are more likely to make the car visible to oncoming motorists, thereby preventing such crashes. Other suggested methods for reducing these types of collisions is better traffic management as well as improving GPS technology for more accurate accident detection capabilities. Notifying drivers of accidents or stopped vehicles on the roads will allow motorists to be more aware of any hazards that may be approaching so that they can respond accordingly and avoid and further collisions.
The Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in pedestrian accidents in the metro Atlanta region, and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, talk to an attorney at our firm to determine whether you have legal options to a claim for damages. You might qualify for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other forms of compensation for your losses. Talk to a lawyer at our firm, and learn if you are eligible for a claim. Initial consultations are free.