The Oregonian reports that the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office has decided not to criminally charge the driver in a pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of a 78-year-old woman and injury to her 80-year-old husband. Instead police issued tickets for two relatively minor traffic citations.
The auto accident happened on Valentine’s Day morning at the intersection of Southeast 84th Avenue and Division Street in Portland. The driver was making an eastbound turn from 84th onto Division when he struck the elderly couple, who were crossing southbound on Division. The driver struck them near the center turn lane. The woman died at the scene of the accident, and her husband was taken to the hospital.
Thousands of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents a Year
Unfortunately this Portland couple is not alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2010 and an estimated 70,000 pedestrians were injured. NHTSA reports that on average a pedestrian was killed every two hours and one was injured every eight minutes. Almost three-quarters of the fatalities happened in urban settings like Portland and Eugene. Eighty percent of them occurred during regular weather conditions. About two-thirds of the accidents happened at night. Pedestrians aged 65 or older accounted for almost 1/5 of the fatalities. More than two-thirds of the pedestrians killed were males, and alcohol was involved in almost half of the fatalities.
Even in a state like Oregon where some drivers are more aware of pedestrian rights and safety, pedestrians are still killed. NHTSA reports there were 56 pedestrian fatalities in Oregon in 2010, which accounted for 17.7 percent of the traffic accidents in the state that year.
Elderly Victims of Traffic Accidents
In 2009, NHTSA reports that 62 people aged 65 or older were killed in Oregon traffic accidents. That is out of a total 377 traffic accidents in the state that year. Forty-five of the victims were age 70 or older, and ten of them were age 85 or older. These numbers show that senior citizens and those who love them need to be particularly careful.
Ways to Prevent being Injured in a Pedestrian Accident
Drivers have an absolute duty to pay attention to the road and to respect the rights and safety of pedestrians. Unfortunately, some drivers do not uphold that duty and pedestrians wind up hurt or killed. If that happens to you or a loved one, you should contact an Oregon licensed attorney. However, there are some steps you can take to try to prevent being a victim. NHTSA recommends pedestrians take these steps:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks if possible;
- Stop and look left, right, and then left again before crossing;
- If a parked vehicle blocks your view, stop at the edge of the vehicle and look around it before crossing;
- If walking at night, carry a flashlight;
- If walking at night, wear retro-reflective clothing which highlights body movements;
- Walk on sidewalks if at all possible; and
- If you are forced to walk in the street, walk facing traffic.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Portland or the rest of Oregon, do not hesitate to contact a skilled personal injury attorney immediately to discuss your options.
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