Senior pedestrians are at a higher risk of being involved in auto accidents when they are out walking. However, a new study finds that simple improvements to road design can help significantly reduce the risk for older pedestrians.
Seniors between the age of 65 and 74 have some of the highest pedestrian accident rates. In 2021, more than 700 pedestrian accidents involved persons in this age group.
In the study, researchers specifically focused on walking safety for seniors above the age of 65. They thoroughly reviewed four years worth of crash data involving elderly pedestrians involved in car accidents, and found in their analysis that specific changes made to road design could help lower the risk for senior pedestrians.
The first change the researchers recommend is better and more effective illumination. Better illumination of streets, especially at crossings and intersections, could help reduce auto accident risks for seniors. Researchers also believe that flashing LED “Pedestrian Crossing” lights would be more effective in helping reduce the risk of these car accidents. Better illumination and lighting are not only some of the simpler safety design modifications that can be implemented, but also some of the more effective strategies to help keep senior pedestrians safer, considering that as many as 20% of all pedestrian accidents involving seniors above the age of 65 occur during night time.
The researchers also believe that converting permissive left turns into protective left turns can help prevent these car accidents. When a motorist is making a permissive left, he is looking for a gap in the traffic to drive through, and therefore, may be less likely to notice or identify a senior in his path. A protected left turn, on the other hand, would make it much easier for a motorist to notice and observe a senior citizen in time to avoid an accident. As many as a quarter of all pedestrian accidents involving persons above the age of 65 were linked to motor vehicles that were making left turns at the time.
Many accidents also occur while pedestrians are crossing, and the researchers believe that shortening crossing distances for pedestrians could help reduce these risks. Pedestrian islands can be an effective way of helping seniors cross roads safely. Restricting the movement of car traffic in certain areas can also be another way of accomplishing this, with the intention of keeping seniors safe while walking, and preventing auto accidents.
Investing in senior pedestrian safety is vital because of the higher risk of serious injuries in these car accidents, as well as the lowered rate of complete recovery for elderly persons after these injuries.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.