Safety and Preventative Measures for Pedestrian Accidents in Maryland

In order to prevent pedestrian accidents in Maryland, both drivers and pedestrians must be vigilant in taking safety and preventative measures. The conduct of the pedestrian is always open to scrutiny as to its reasonableness. There is a law called contributory negligence, which means that even if the at-fault party is 99% at fault, and the injured party contributes as little as 1%, then the injured party is not entitled to compensation.

As a result of this law, it is important pedestrians are at the very least aware of their surroundings and always look left and right before attempting to cross the road. Additionally, it is important pedestrians are vigilant in terms of what drivers can see and are cognizant of not going out in the dark without light or reflective clothing.

Pedestrian Safety Measures

For safety purposes, pedestrians should be predictable. It is best to use the sidewalks that are provided. Pedestrians should also cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so. It is wise to stay off freeways and restricted zones. Although a pedestrian may have the walk signal giving them the right to cross, the pedestrian should be cognizant that all traffic has to come to a stop before crossing. It is safest to walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.

Maybe people are not aware that the law dictates that pedestrians walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Pedestrians should look before stepping beyond stopped vehicles to be sure they have visibility to see if there is any moving traffic. Pedestrians should carry personal information in their wallet for easy identification and emergency contact. Many people keep their emergency contacts on their phones under the heading ICE-in case of emergency, and responders know to look under that heading. Blood type information can be useful in the event injuries require hospitalization, transfusion, or surgery.

Driver Responsibility

Vehicle operators must pay full attention to their driving and be on the lookout for pedestrians. In 2008 national statistics showed that alcohol was involved either for the driver or the pedestrian in 48% of all pedestrian accidents. Visibility of pedestrians is also much harder at nighttime. Vehicles must be operated with headlights on at dusk and thereafter so that the vehicle driver can see pedestrians and pedestrians can see the vehicle. Vehicle operators must operate their vehicles at the posted speed for the safety of themselves, other motorists, and pedestrians.

Pedestrians have a reasonable expectation that motorists will be operating their vehicles at the posted speed and rely on that so they can gauge distance and timing to cross. Prevalent today are drivers who do not obey the motor vehicle laws texting and talking on cellphones while driving. This distraction of the driver can be lethal and remains a leading cause of crashes.

The law in Maryland is that drivers cannot use handheld devices and any cellphone use must be hands-free. Cellphones take drivers’ attention away from driving and causes accidents which many times can be very serious and lethal. If two vehicles on the highway are not driving carefully because either someone cut someone else off or they are racing, it can lead to a very dangerous situation for anyone on the highway and in particular pedestrians who are not expecting vehicles to be driving unsafely. The pedestrians have the right to expect vehicles to be traveling at posted speeds and to be operating their vehicles safely, carefully, and reasonably to prevent pedestrian accidents. When drivers are engaged in road rage, no precautionary measure are taking place leading to the detriment of pedestrians on the highway.

Traffic Laws Applied to Pedestrians

The traffic laws that apply to pedestrians are that when pedestrians are on a roadway, they need to be on the side of the road facing traffic. That is different than bicycles because bicycles have to follow the rules of the road for vehicles, which means they travel with the flow of traffic in the same direction. We have talked about the marked and unmarked crosswalks, which are radically different from one another in the sense that marked crosswalks require the vehicles to yield the right of way to the pedestrian. If a pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk, it requires the pedestrian to yield the right of way to vehicles.

Importance of Following Traffic Laws

It is significant to follow the traffic laws because a violation of a traffic law, also known as a statute, is what can determine if someone is negligent. Negligence is determined by there being a duty that is breached. Many times, the traffic laws establish what the duty is and if it is breached, then that is the primary two elements of negligence, a duty that is breached. The other two elements are where someone is damaged and those damages are causally related to the breach of the duty.

When a traffic law or statute is violated, that means that a duty has been breached. Also, in that instance, under the law, the mere fact of a statute being violated establishes negligence per se. It is also important to follow the traffic laws, again, because of contributory negligence. If the vehicle driver has violated traffic laws, then the conduct of the pedestrian is looked at as well.

If the pedestrian has violated a statute in some way, then the pedestrian can be considered contributorily negligent and therefore can be knocked out from recovering damages from the injuries sustained. The impact of following or not following the laws is that the fault and responsibility for an accident can be determined by whether someone has followed the law. Therefore, a pedestrian’s traffic violation can result in a determination of the pedestrian being considered at-fault.

It can also be important and impact the outcome of a case for a pedestrian. If it is deemed that the vehicle driver is the at-fault party, then the conduct of the pedestrian is looked at to determine reasonableness and if there’s been any violation of a traffic law or statute. If that is the case, it can result in a finding of contributory negligence and bar recovering damages.