Two men died in less than 24 hours in separate DC pedestrian accidents this month. On Thursday after 2:00 a.m., a 44-year-old victim was struck while leaving the restaurant he owned in the Shaw neighborhood. A breathalyzer was administered to the driver, but the accident is still under investigation. Sometime after 2:00 a.m. on Friday, a 29-year-old was struck in a hit-and-run pedestrian accident near New Hampshire Avenue. Both men died soon after arriving at the hospital.
Are DC Pedestrian Accidents On the Rise?
According to WTOP, 60 pedestrians died last year in vehicle accidents. In 2014, 53 pedestrians died as a result of vehicle accidents, and in 2013, 45 pedestrians died. Needless to say, pedestrian accidents are definitely on the rise in the DC area.
Due to the fact pedestrians do not have the protection of a giant, metal, airbag-equipped vehicle, accidents cause much more severe injuries and often death. Pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur at night, when they are less visible to drivers. Speed is very often a factor, as it gives drivers less reaction time to hit the brakes. Additionally, pedestrian accidents can occur due to the following:
- Drunk drivers
- Drunk pedestrians
- Drivers who run red lights or stop signs
- Distracted driving
- Distracted pedestrians
- Drivers who make right turns at intersections without watching for pedestrians
- Parked cars that make it difficult to see pedestrians around the corners
How Pedestrians Can Stay Safe
The District has taken some good steps toward increasing pedestrian safety, such as the Vision Zero initiative, the Be Street Smart campaign and increasing enforcement with traffic cameras. However, there are also steps pedestrians can take to keep themselves safe, including:
- When possible, always opting to cross at designated crosswalks or intersections
- Increasing visibility (especially at night), by wearing bright colors, reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight
- When possible, always walk on sidewalks. If a sidewalk is not available, walk along the left-side shoulder and face oncoming traffic
- Stay off your phone! Eyes up, on the road and don’t have your headphones in