Pedestrians are constantly at risk of getting hit by cars in a busy city such as Omaha. The Nebraska Department of Transportation reported 342 pedestrian accidents and 20 deaths in 2019 alone. Although pedestrians face many safety hazards, careless and reckless drivers are the greatest risks of all. Identifying the most common causes of pedestrian accidents can help you avoid an accident – or determine the cause of your accident if you’ve been hit by a car in Omaha.
Distracted driving is one of the most serious traffic accident risks in Nebraska. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 victims lost their lives in distracted driving accidents in the U.S. in 2019. Distracted driving refers to operating a motor vehicle without dedicating one’s full attention to the driving task.
The most dangerous – and most common – driver distraction is texting and driving. Other common distractions are eating, drinking, talking to passengers and looking at a GPS. If a driver is distracted by something, he or she may fail to notice a crossing pedestrian, a child running out into the road, or a stoplight change.
Driving while intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol contributes to many serious and fatal traffic accidents in Nebraska each year. An impaired driver may not have full control of the vehicle due to issues such as lack of coordination, muscle weakness, blurred vision, impaired judgment and slowed reflexes. An impaired driver is also more prone to reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, driving the wrong way, or committing a hit-and-run pedestrian accident.
Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way
The right-of-way is the right to proceed, such as a pedestrian’s right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in Nebraska. If a driver fails to give a pedestrian the right-of-way, he or she could cross the path of the pedestrian and cause an accident. For example, a driver could cause a crash by making an unsafe left-hand turn at an intersection without first yielding the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is crossing the destination street.
Red Light and Stop Sign Violations
Even if a pedestrian has the right-of-way and is legally allowed to cross the road at an intersection, a driver who ignores traffic laws can cause a collision. If a driver runs a red light or fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, he or she may fail to yield to a crossing pedestrian and cause a crash. Pedestrian accidents at intersections with control signals can be especially severe, as many drivers who run red lights are speeding to try to make the yellow light.
Driving too fast for conditions, especially in pedestrian-heavy areas such as downtown Omaha, residential neighborhoods and school zones, increases the risk of pedestrian collisions. A speeding driver may not have enough time to notice a pedestrian stepping into the road or stop in time to prevent an accident.
Many pedestrian collisions occur when a driver puts his or her car into reverse and backs up without checking for crossing pedestrians. These accidents are most common in parking lots and driveways. It is a driver’s responsibility to check for nearby pedestrians and wait for the road to clear before backing up.
Not all pedestrian collisions in Nebraska are caused by motorists. Pedestrians can also cause accidents by breaking traffic laws, walking while distracted or walking while intoxicated. Walking and looking down at a cell phone, for instance, can make a pedestrian miss a red light or step out into oncoming traffic. Jaywalking, or crossing the road between marked intersections, can also cause a pedestrian accident.
In Nebraska, the comparative fault law allows a pedestrian to recover at least partial financial compensation even if he or she contributed to an accident, as long as the pedestrian is found to be less than 50 percent to blame. If you were recently injured in a pedestrian accident in Omaha, contact an attorney to discuss your options for financial compensation, even if you believe you contributed to the accident.