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Spike in Pedestrian Deaths Across DMV Raises Concerns

A bright yellow pedestrian crossing sign set against a light gray sky.

Pedestrian accidents are becoming more frequent in the DMV, raising significant concerns among residents. These accidents often result in life-altering injuries or, tragically, fatalities. Survivors face long recoveries, permanent disabilities, and deep emotional scars.

Speeding has emerged as a major contributing factor to collisions involving people on foot, posing a serious threat to pedestrians in communities across the DMV.

How speeding puts pedestrians at risk

Speeding is a reckless driving behavior that significantly endangers pedestrians. It contributes to fatal pedestrian accidents in several ways, including:

  • Reduced Reaction Time: Speeding reduces drivers' reaction time, making it harder to avoid collisions with pedestrians.
  • Increased Severity: Higher speeds result in more severe injuries, increasing the likelihood of fatalities when a pedestrian is struck.
  • Longer Stopping Distance: Speeding extends the distance needed to stop a vehicle, making it difficult to avoid hitting pedestrians.
  • Impaired Decision-Making: High speeds impair a driver’s ability to make safe decisions, leading to poor choices like not yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Narrower Field of Vision: At higher speeds, a driver’s field of vision narrows, reducing their ability to see pedestrians approaching.

Community concerns on Veirs Mill Road

Veirs Mill Road, also known as MD Route 586 in Montgomery County, MD, has seen a troubling increase in speeding incidents. According to DC News Now, residents are alarmed by cars exceeding the speed limit, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.

With so many cars moving at high speeds, community residents risk their lives trying to cross the street. Resident David Myers shared his concerns, stating, “My son and daughter have to try to cross the street there. I’ve tried to cross the street myself and gotten stuck in the middle of the intersection, or in between the lanes for three to five minutes at a time because the cars are moving so fast that you just don’t want to risk crossing the street.”

Addressing the issue

The number of pedestrian accidents in Maryland rose from 137 in 2022 to 161 in 2023, an 18% increase. D.C. also saw a rise from 19 to 20 fatalities. Although this increase is concerning, pedestrian accidents can be prevented. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests the following measures to enhance pedestrian safety and prevent accidents:

Reducing Car Speeds and the Number of Lanes

By lowering speed limits and reducing the number of lanes pedestrians need to cross, drivers have more time to react, and pedestrians are exposed to traffic for shorter periods. Narrower roads can naturally calm traffic, making it safer for everyone.

Improving Lighting

Enhancing street lighting helps drivers see pedestrians more clearly, especially at night when the majority of fatalities occur.

Implementing Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs)

LPIs give pedestrians a head start of three to four seconds before cars get the green light to turn at intersections. This head start allows pedestrians to become more visible in the crosswalk, reducing conflicts between turning vehicles and people crossing the street.

Banning Right Turns on Red Lights

Prohibiting right turns on red lights can prevent accidents by eliminating the risk of drivers turning into the path of pedestrians. This measure can significantly reduce the chances of collisions at busy intersections where drivers might not see pedestrians crossing.

Adding More Sidewalks

Increasing the number of sidewalks ensures that pedestrians have safe pathways away from road traffic. Well-maintained sidewalks provide a designated space for walking, reducing the risk of accidents by keeping pedestrians out of the roadway.

Protecting the rights of injured pedestrians in the DMV

With the rising number of pedestrian accidents in the DMV, it's more important than ever to seek help from an attorney promptly if you or someone you love has been injured in such an incident. Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries, and navigating the legal process alone can be stressful.

At the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, we provide clear answers and dedicated representation to help you through this challenging time. Our experienced team is committed to securing the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. For instance, in one case we secured a $610,000 award for a college student who was struck in a crosswalk in Virginia.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your potential legal options. Let us fight for your rights and help you obtain the justice you deserve.

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