The Phoenix area has one of the highest rates in the country for fatal pedestrian accidents. In response, Arizona is deploying the High-intensity Activated crossWalk (HAWK) system first developed in Tucson in the late 1990s. Using the HAWK system, which is designed for high-speed and wide-crossing roadways, drivers receive multiple cues to alert them to the potential presence of a pedestrian.
According to the Arizona Crash Facts Summary published by the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 1,575 accidents involving pedestrians in 2012. 130 of these were fatal. Not surprisingly, pedestrians were injured in 86% of these accidents.
Men are far more likely to be hurt or injured in pedestrian accidents than are women. The age groups with the highest accident rates are pedestrians age 25–34 and 55–64.
Most accidents happen when pedestrians are crossing roads, and most happen in daylight. In about 13% of cases, the pedestrian involved in an accident had been drinking or appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Who Is Liable in Pedestrian Accidents?
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, liability will depend on whether the driver, the pedestrian, or both were at fault.
One consideration in determining fault is whether the driver and pedestrian were obeying the law.
If there are no traffic lights or stop signs at a crosswalk, or if the traffic lights are not working, a motorist must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the road within a crosswalk when the pedestrian:
- is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling, or
- is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger of being hit by the motorist’s car.
Drivers are also required to:
- Exercise due care to avoid hitting pedestrians
- Warn pedestrians by sounding the horn when necessary
- Exercise proper caution when seeing a child or a confused or incapacitated person on a roadway
How Pedestrians Can Practice Safety
- By law, a pedestrian “shall not suddenly leave any curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.”
- If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to pass, the driver of another vehicle approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
- If a pedestrian is trying to cross a road at some point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the road.
- Between adjacent intersections at which traffic signals are in operation, pedestrians may only cross at crosswalks.
- If sidewalks are available, pedestrians are required to walk on the sidewalks rather than on the road.
- If sidewalks are not available, then pedestrians walking along a highway are required to walk on the left side of the road, or on the shoulder, facing approaching traffic.
- Standing in a road to flag down a car in order to hitchhike is prohibited.
Who to Contact?
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Thompson Law Firm. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in the greater Phoenix area including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Maricopa, Globe, and Queen Creek.