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What can pedestrians do to reduce motor vehicle accidents?

According to national statistics compiled in 2010, at least 4,280 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles that year, and another 70,000 suffered injuries. Those numbers mean that a pedestrian was killed in a traffic-related accident ever two hours, and injured in similar accidents every eight minutes. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that statistically pedestrians have a greater probability of being killed per trip, by a likelihood of 1.5 times, while walking than if they had been an occupant in a motor vehicle.

Further statistical analysis of motor vehicle versus pedestrian accidents reveals that older people and children are especially prone to pedestrian fatalities. The 2010 research shows that 19 percent of pedestrian fatalities and approximately 11 percent of pedestrian injuries that year involved pedestrians over the age of 65 years. The study also showed that child pedestrians between five and nine years old comprised one out of every five children killed by traffic-related accidents in 2010.

Despite those grim numbers, the CDC says that there are actions every pedestrian can take that can reduce their chances of becoming a statistic. For example, pedestrians are encouraged to limit their foot traffic to sidewalks as much is possible and cross streets only at intersections -- preferably ones that include traffic lights and signals.

Additionally, the CDC recommends that pedestrians increase their visibility at night by incorporating other simple techniques. Tactics such as wearing light-colored or reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight while walking.

In addition to incorporating these techniques, perhaps the single most important thing that pedestrians can do to reduce motor vehicle accidents is to use common sense. That is because most of the pedestrian accidents recorded in the 2010 study occurred at night in urban areas at locations described as non-intersections. Additionally, 33 percent of pedestrians killed in the 2010 study had blood alcohol concentration levels of .08 percent or greater.

However, if you are a New Jersey pedestrian injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own you may be entitled to sue the responsible party for compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to recover medical costs, lost wages and other associated expenses.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety" Oct. 02, 2014

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