Pedestrian Deaths Higher in 2016

Posted by William K. Thayer | Apr 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

Both statewide and locally, unfortunately, pedestrian deaths increased last year. According to a front page article in the Columbian, Saturday, April 1, 2017, there were 5 pedestrians killed in Clark County last year, and 89 statewide. See, "Pedestrian Deaths Spiked Last Year," by Joan Lowy, Associated Press.

Potential causes identified by Ms. Lowy in the AP article include more people on the road due to an improved economy and lower gas prices, combined with more people out walking for exercise and "environmental factors." Also mentioned is the suspicion that the biggest factor may actually be more drivers and pedestrians distracted by their cell phones and other portable devices than ever before.

In any event, at least on a national level, the statistics show the largest annual increase in both the number and percentage of pedestrian fatalities in the 40 years or so that national records on death have been kept. Not good. One death is too many.

It is difficult to do much, on a personal level about the increase in auto and pedestrian traffic. But maybe we at least can all help cut back on the number of tragedies that more traffic has resulted in by doing one simple thing – specifically, by putting away our cell phones.

There are reams of studies pointing to the insanity of attempting to use one's cell phone while driving a motor vehicle. It is already against the law, for good reason, and there is a legislative effort afoot that will clarify that provision which is pending in the state of Washington at this very moment.

Personal experience and common sense both support the conclusion that is is also risky behavior to allow oneself to be distracted by the cell phone when entering crosswalks and walking on and along busy streets.

So, with our economy hopping and our penchant to become an ever-more healthy population, in short, as more and more of us take to the roadways as pedestrians and drivers, let's remember to put safety first, and keep our cell phones in a pocket if walking, or in the glove compartment when driving.

About the Author

William K. Thayer

Bill Thayer is one of the founding partners of the Schauermann Thayer Jacobs Staples & Edwards law firm. Bill is licensed in both Oregon and Washington, and actively practiced law from 1980 to 2021. He is now "of counsel" with Schauermann Thayer and serves as an arbitrator when appointed by the courts or litigants. During his more than 40 years of active law practice, Bill advised and represented clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims and litigation, including automobile collision, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian injury and death cases, dog bite cases, construction site injury claims, and a myriad of other types of injury and death claims. While many claims were settled through negotiation or mediation, Mr. Thayer litigated, arbitrated and/or tried to verdict many cases for his clients. He continues to occasionally be appointed by courts and other lawyers to serve as an arbitrator of tort claims. Bill enjoys writing as one of his varied recreational interests when he is not working.


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