Delaware is a dangerous place for pedestrians. At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we fight to protect families whose loved ones were killed. Contact us in Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark to speak with a Delaware injury attorney today.
Delaware has a substantial problem when it comes to pedestrian accidents that cause serious personal injuries, often turning fatal. No other state has more pedestrian fatalities per-capita.
What is the most common reason for accidents involving pedestrians?
The are several safety issues at play that contribute to pedestrians getting hurt or killed, such as:
- Failure to maintain consistent sidewalks in high-traffic areas to provide walkers safe foot access
- Speeding by motor vehicles on roads they equate to major highways, preventing proper stopping distance or reaction time
- Lacking a sufficient number of necessary crosswalks to strategically guide pedestrians across busy roads
- Absence of median barriers that would prevent individuals from crossing busy highways in dangerous locations
- Distracted driving that would prevent a driver from noticing a pedestrian, regardless of where he or she is crossing a road
Where do crashes involving pedestrians happen most?
You might think that pedestrian accidents would be more likely to occur in high population metropolitan areas that have a healthy number of both vehicle and foot traffic. College towns, cities and other locations do have their issues with these accidents, but the vast majority of really serious collisions between people and automobiles happens in the Delaware suburbs. As a piece published by Bike Delaware explains, “there is overwhelming evidence that Delaware’s pedestrian fatalities are a direct result of the deadly conditions we have created on our ‘commercial’ highways” and corridors – places where high-speed roads meet shopping areas. New Castle County, in particular, has seen the brunt of these horrific fatalities.
The Bike Delaware piece went on to say:
- Most pedestrian deaths occur on Kirkwood Highway, Dupont Highway, Pulaski Highway and Concord Pike.
- The Delaware Department of Transportation designed these highways and speed limits to be comparable to those of I-95 or Route 1.
- County government zoned the land alongside these roadways for commerce and development.
- The development of strip malls, offices, and hotels along these roads results in pedestrian traffic across highways in uncontrolled locations.
The recent spate of fatal pedestrian accidents lends support to this argument. In early August, three separate pedestrian accidents occurred in one day in New Castle County. In a separate incident in early August, a Dover woman was killed during early morning hours by an unknown hit and run driver. In late July, a woman hit three pedestrians – a man, woman and child – in a Beaumont subdivision, then fled the scene on foot. All three victims were hospitalized.
Putting an end to fatal pedestrian accidents
If Delaware doesn’t want to be the deadliest state for pedestrians for yet another year, some changes need to happen – and fast. Bike Delaware suggests the following:
- Eliminating any mid-block crossings for bus stops
- Maintaining and repairing existing sidewalks
- Adding more crosswalks (and ensuring they’re safe)
- Adding more median barriers
- Reducing the amount of construction for new highways
- Ordering more studies so the data about fatalities is clear
We would add that some of those studies should be conducted sooner, rather than later. The Coastal Highway, for example, is usually a hotbed of accidents because it leads to the shore. However, many of those crashes are related to road defects, which can increase the risks to pedestrians as well if drivers cannot avoid swerving.
Another way to help protect pedestrians would be to update the technology and infrastructure surrounding existing crosswalks, and to increase the width of existing and new sidewalks. Finally, Delaware should consider pedestrian bridges near popular shopping and tourist areas.
Whether you’ve been hit while walking around the block or strolling along a waterfront, don’t let reckless drivers take away your sense of peace or freedom to get outside and move around. The Delaware personal injury attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman will be there to help you see it through. We invite you to schedule your free case evaluation in our Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark, DE office, by calling 302-888-2900, or reaching out to us through our contact page.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.