In 2013, more than 4,700 pedestrians were killed and another 150,000 needed emergency medical treatment because they were struck by a vehicle. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study that demonstrates how just a few miles per hour can make the difference between living or dying when hit by a car.
The “twenty is plenty” mentality, an idea supported by the study conducted by AAA, is that speed limits in areas with large amounts of foot traffic should be limited to 20 miles per hour. The study shows that a difference of 10 miles per hour can make a large difference.
For example, the study shows that a pedestrian that is struck by a car traveling 30 miles per hour has a 20 percent chance of dying, while a pedestrian of the same age would only have a 7 percent chance of dying if hit by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour. This small change in speed could easily reduce the deaths and injuries in urban areas annually. The likelihood of being killed by a car crash increases exponentially as the car gains more speed. That is to say that even a few miles per hour makes more of a difference the faster the car is traveling.
One of the most interesting facts that the study points out, is how much age plays a role in likelihood of survival when a pedestrian is hit by a car. For example, a pedestrian that is hit by a car traveling 30 miles per hour who is 30 years old has a 13 percent risk of fatality. On the other hand, a pedestrian at the age of 70 has a 37 percent chance of dying when hit by a car traveling at the same speed. Senior citizens, on average, are twice as likely to die from being hit by a car than someone who is younger.
Not only does the study provide information about fatality rates, but it also emphasizes the statistical risk of a pedestrian being severely injured by a car. The following statistics outline the average risk of being seriously injured if you are hit by a car:
- 10% risk of severe injury if the car is traveling 16 mph.
- 25% risk of severe injury if the car is traveling 23 mph.
- 50% risk of severe injury if the car is traveling 31 mph.
- 75% risk of severe injury if the car is traveling 39 mph.
- 90% risk of severe injury if the car is traveling 46 mph.
A main concern that should be addressed is that many freeways have a speed limit of 45 miles per hour. So, any pedestrian that is hit by a car on a freeway has a 90 percent chance of sustaining severe injury and a 60 percent chance of dying. Furthermore, some suburban areas have a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Thus, any person that is hit in this area has a 31 percent chance of fatality on average, and approximately a 60 percent chance of sustaining a severe injury.
If you have been injured in a reckless driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out if your case is valid.