End of Daylight Savings Time Increases Pedestrian Accident Risks
Daylight hours are going to get shorter for the rest of the year in Colorado, which has safety officials warning of the risk to pedestrians on streets and roads across Colorado.
“October through December historically have the most pedestrian fatalities in Colorado, largely due to the shorter days and longer nights,” according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. “Pedestrians are especially vulnerable in the dark since they can be hard to see by motorists.”
Daylight Savings Time officially ends on November 5, when clocks are pushed forward by one hour.
More than 66% of the fatal pedestrian accidents in the first half of this year happened at night, CDOT says. Total fatal pedestrian crashes are on the rise, with 87 people killed in pedestrian accidents on Colorado roads so far this year. That is up from 78 deaths during the same time last year.
CDOT and other state agencies have joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mark National Pedestrian Safety Month. The groups are calling attention to safety risks for pedestrians and urging both pedestrians and drivers to be aware.
“We are committed to enhancing pedestrian safety across our state, and at CDOT, we believe in a comprehensive approach,” Darrell Lingk, Director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, said in a statement. “Our strategy combines collaborative efforts on education and awareness as well as safer roadway design to minimize danger to pedestrians.
Pedestrian Deaths Spiking
More than 7,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents nationwide last year, the Governors Highway Safety Association calculates.
That is up slightly from a year earlier, according to the non-profit research and advocacy group. It is also the highest number of pedestrian deaths since the GHSA began tracking the data 41 years ago.
Pedestrian deaths continue to grow at a much faster rate than all other traffic fatalities combined. The figure spiked by 77% over the last decade, the GHSA data show. Compare that to a 25% rise in all other traffic deaths over the same period.
The GHSA cites a number of factors, including reckless behavior behind the wheel by drivers, as well as the increasing size of vehicles and the speeds at which they often travel.
“A general rule is the larger and heavier the vehicle, the lower the chances a person on foot will survive a crash,” GHSA concluded in its annual report. Sport utility vehicles and light trucks were involved in nearly 40% of pedestrian deaths over the course of 2021, according to GHSA research.
What Drivers and Pedestrians Can Do to Stay Safe
Driver error is often to blame when it comes to pedestrian and other accidents.
Drivers in Colorado owe others on the road and nearby a legal obligation to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner at all times. They are required to remain alert behind the wheel and mindful of pedestrians and other traffic. Drivers who hit the road while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol and those who become distracted by cell phones behind the wheel pose a serious safety risk.
“Put the phone down — sending or reading a short text takes your eyes off the road for almost five seconds,” CDOT Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager Annelies van Vonno said in a statement. “At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.”
But drivers are not always at fault when pedestrian accidents happen. There are several steps that pedestrians can take to help keep themselves safe.
Pedestrians should stick to sidewalks and paths rather than walking directly on roads, whenever possible. They should also cross at crosswalks or intersections, remain alert, and watch for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
Legal Rights for People Injured in Accidents
Anyone who is injured in a traffic accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. That is true whether you are a pedestrian or traveling by car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle.
The money damages available in Colorado accident cases are intended to help injured people get back on their feet, generally in the financial position that they were in before the collisions. It typically includes money for doctors’ bills, vehicle damage, missed wages, and the impact of injuries on an injured person’s long-term earning capacity.
To get that compensation, you generally need to be able to identify who is responsible for the crash and prove the person or entity’s legal liability.
Pedestrian accident cases are usually based on negligence claims. Negligence is a legal theory that holds people and entities liable when they fail to live up to a certain standard of care.
Drivers are generally required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. They are expected to abide by traffic laws, maintain appropriate speeds, and remain alert at all times. A driver who does not live up to this responsibility is likely to be found negligent and liable for any crashes that happen as a result.
Fortunately, you do not need to go it alone. A Denver personal injury lawyer at our firm can help you understand your rights and options and take action to obtain compensation.
Wrongful Death Claims for Fatal Accidents
Certain family members also have the right to seek compensation for wrongful death when a person is killed in a pedestrian or other accident in Colorado.
State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.
To be clear, the money damages available in wrongful death cases will not allow you to go back in time and stop the accident from happening. Compensation can, however, ease some of the financial burden that often comes with losing a loved one.
Speak with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run or other crash in Colorado, a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help you take action. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.
We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.