Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Driving in Baltimore? Smile, you’re on camera! The Baltimore Sun reports that speed cameras have returned to the city, this time with stricter regulations designed to protect drivers.

Speed cameras in Baltimore City are nothing new. In fact, the city has tried—and failed—twice before to launch speed camera programs as a deterrent to reckless driving, and to catch and fine drivers exceeding the speed limit. However, technology problems resulted in many drivers receiving tickets in error (including a car stopped at a red light that was flagged as speeding, reports The Sun), and in 2013, the Baltimore speed camera program was put in park.

Now, speed cameras are back with what program officials say is improved technology, along with stricter laws governing their use.
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It’s become an all-too-common sight in Baltimore and communities across Maryland: People walking down the sidewalks and crossing the street with their heads down, looking at their cell phones. Researchers suggest that “distracted walking” — combined with the deadly trend of distracted driving — has contributed to an increase in pedestrian traffic accident injuries and fatalities across the country. Some statistics to make us all look up and take notice:

  • The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that nationally, pedestrian accident death rates are rising faster than motor vehicle crash fatality rates.
  • CBS News reports that last year, some 6,000 pedestrians died in U.S. traffic accidents.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that pedestrian accident fatalities increased by 9.5 percent in 2015 — the highest numbers seen since 1996.
  • NHTSA reports that in 2014, of the 442 total traffic accident fatalities in Maryland, 101 were pedestrian accident deaths.

Maryland has made some positive strides in recent years to curb pedestrian injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents. In fact, preliminary data show that pedestrian fatalities in Maryland and Washington, DC, had decreased for the first six months of 2016. However, far too many people in Maryland are still sustaining serious injuries and losing their lives in pedestrian traffic accidents, which represent roughly one-fifth of our state’s motor vehicle accident fatalities. The 2015 Maryland Highway Safety Office Annual Report states that, “Over the past five years, an average of 106 pedestrians have lost their lives and 2,477 were injured each year as a result of a crash. This loss of life represents 20 percent of all of Maryland’s traffic fatalities.”

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Have you ever started backing out of your driveway or a parking spot in Maryland, only to slam on your brakes when a child or adult suddenly appears behind your car? Pedestrian accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates some 210 backover deaths occur in the US every year. In response to this safety hazard, NHTSA has proposed a rule requiring auto manufacturers to install rear backup cameras in most new vehicles by May 2018.

Blind spots hamper drivers’ ability to see everything that’s in back of their vehicle. Even with side mirrors, it’s difficult to get a clear view of what’s behind the car, truck, SUV or minivan. Some of the saddest news stories we’ve heard about as Maryland pedestrian accident lawyers involve parents or neighbors backing up over children — children who are playing in the driveway or who suddenly dash behind the vehicle. NHTSA estimates about one-third of backover deaths are children, with many caused by parents.

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Child safety advocates report that the scariest thing about Halloween isn’t the elaborate costumes or the copious amounts of candy consumed: it’s the increased risk for traffic accidents involving young pedestrians.

Here in Maryland and around the country, kids of all ages look forward to trick or treating as an annual childhood ritual. What’s more fun than putting on a costume, and going door to door with family and friends asking neighbors for candy? However, Halloween creates a perfect storm of circumstances increasing the risk for serious and fatal pedestrian accidents. These risk factors include…

  • Children, often clad in dark costumes, traveling on foot, darting in and out of the streets

Another summer in Maryland draws to a close, way too soon. This means streets in Baltimore and other Md. cities and towns are filling up with kids and teens heading back to school. What’s different about today’s youth compared to when we grew up is most have a cell phone in their hands. Texting friends is a way of staying constantly connected. It’s also a way for parents to keep tabs on their tech-savvy children.

Unfortunately, there’s a serious downside to texting. The well-documented hazards of texting while driving have prompted many states, including Maryland, to make the practice illegal. (FYI: Maryland lawmakers closed a legal loophole in Oct. 2011 that allowed drivers to text at stoplights.) It’s easy to see how texting while driving can lead to serious and fatal motor vehicle crashes. Taking one’s eyes off the road for a few seconds to read and send text messages is more than enough time for a serious auto accident to occur.

Now texting while walking is getting more media attention, as pedestrian accident injuries and deaths are up nationwide. Too many people are walking around with their heads down, paying more attention to their cell phones than the traffic racing around them.

Have you noticed how the behavior of Maryland pedestrians has changed in recent years?

Used to be people walked down the street, looked around at the buildings and scenery, and thought about the day’s activities. They walked to and from work, school, and the store, pushed babies in carriages, and trotted their dogs on leashes. The main pedestrian activity in Md. was getting where you needed to go. The biggest distraction was the honking of car horns and of course navigating safely across busy Baltimore City and other Maryland streets.

Now the technological devices that bring a world of information and entertainment to our fingertips are in fact posing a risk to life and limb for not only Maryland distracted drivers — but for distracted pedestrians, too.

Hybrid vehicles are rising in popularity in Maryland and across the U.S., as more people seek to save money on gas with an environmentally friendlier vehicle. However according to a recent insurance industry report, hybrids vehicles aren’t always as friendly to pedestrians. Liability claims for pedestrian accidents with hybrid vehicles are on the rise because people on foot — as well as bicyclists — may simply not hear them coming.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a report late last fall stating that hybrids are actually safer than their non-hybrid equivalents when it comes to protecting motorists in car accidents. However the same cannot be said when pedestrians are struck by hybrids. The IIHS reported that hybrid vehicles are 20 percent more likely to be involved in traffic accidents with pedestrians.

A Baltimore County pedestrian accident injury lawyer works with individuals in cases where a person on foot has been struck and injured or killed by a motor vehicle. We’re hearing more about pedestrian traffic accidents involving hybrid cars, whose engines are very quiet when the vehicle is in electric only mode. Unlike conventional gas burners that rumble along the Maryland roadways, hybrids running on all electric current may approach almost silently — particularly for pedestrians who are wearing iPod headsets, and/or are texting or talking on their cell phones.

According to local media reports, a Baltimore, Maryland grand jury has indicted a man and woman in a hit and run pedestrian accident that left two young people dead.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a man and woman from Anne Arundel County, Md., have been indicted in the deaths of two teenage girls. The teenagers were struck by an automobile while attempting to cross Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near I-395 in Baltimore City. A 28-year-old Maryland man has been charged with two counts each of automobile manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, as well as one count of driving under the influence of alcohol. A 26-year-old woman has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

Families may consult with Baltimore County accident injury lawyers when loved ones are injured or killed in auto or pedestrian accidents — including those cases that are tried in criminal court. In Maryland, civil lawsuits may follow car accident cases where criminal charges have been filed against the drivers and other parties. Suing for damages in the Maryland Civil Court System allows families who have been hurt to seek compensation from those held responsible. (See link to related Maryland accident attorney article below for more on how civil lawsuits apply to criminal cases in traffic accidents in Md.)

A judge has sentenced a local man to two years in jail for a fatal Cecil County, Maryland pedestrian traffic accident.

This fatal pedestrian and truck accident occurred in the Elkton area of Cecil County, Maryland on the evening of June 14, 2009.

According to local news reports, a 57-year-old Cecil County man was driving his truck when he struck a pedestrian, age 44, who was on the roadside helping another man load a moped onto a parked truck. The victim was crushed between the driver’s truck and the parked vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was a deadly weekend on the roads in Anne Arundel County and Western Maryland. According to The Baltimore Sun, two traffic accidents involving cars hitting pedestrians occurred on Sunday, leaving three people dead and several others with serious injuries. Details on these Maryland pedestrian accidents are as follows….

The Sun reported that in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a car went off the road and struck three members of a family who were resting on the roadside from a bicycle ride. The family members were taken to area hospitals with injuries and the car driver died.

A second weekend traffic accident occurred in the Western part of Maryland when a car reportedly drove into a crowd of people who were lingering after church. In that Maryland car – pedestrian accident, two people were killed and a third hospitalized.