Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians are Washington’s most vulnerable users, meaning they are most at risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries in accidents. According to statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 131 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2022. Most deadly pedestrian collisions are preventable, with causes that are often traced back to driver errors.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving took 3,522 lives in the United States in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Statewide statistics estimated that 11 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2022 involved distracted drivers. Drivers must dedicate their full attention to the driving task to react safely and appropriately to hazards or changing roadway situations, such as a pedestrian entering a crosswalk.

Cell phones are the most dangerous type of driver distraction. The NHTSA states that looking at a cell phone for just five seconds while driving is the equivalent of traveling across a football field blindfolded. Other common examples of driver distractions that can contribute to pedestrian accidents are eating, drinking, talking to passengers, looking at a GPS, and daydreaming or other mental distractions.

Driving Under the Influence

In 2022, 18 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents that took place in the State of Washington involved impaired drivers. Drunk and drugged drivers were responsible for taking 24 pedestrian lives. Drivers who recklessly break state law and drive while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol put other road users at risk. A drunk driver is more likely to drive erratically, violate traffic laws, speed, run red lights and fail to see a pedestrian crossing the road than a sober driver.

Violating Pedestrian Laws

Drivers in Washington have a responsibility to obey traffic laws and roadway rules. This includes all traffic signs, signals and pedestrian laws. In Washington, pedestrians have the right-of-way at all crosswalks and intersections. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all intersections whether they are marked or unmarked. Running red lights, rolling through stop signs and failing to yield to pedestrians can result in devastating collisions.


Speeding is one of the top contributors to motor vehicle accidents in Vancouver in general. Speeding puts pedestrians at risk since it decreases a driver’s reaction times. A driver who is traveling too fast for conditions may be unable to react in time to avoid a pedestrian who steps out onto the road, for example, or to brake at a traffic light that turns red. Speeding in school zones and residential areas is especially dangerous for pedestrians.

Dangerous Traffic Designs

Not all pedestrian accidents in Washington are caused by drivers. In some cases, investigations discover dangerous road defects that jeopardize pedestrian safety, such as unsafe intersection designs, a lack of pedestrian walkways and crosswalks, dangerous construction zones, and sidewalk defects that force pedestrians to walk on the road. In these cases, the government agency responsible for maintaining safe roads and sidewalks for the public may be held responsible for a pedestrian’s injuries.

Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Assistance With Your Claim in Vancouver

If you or a loved one was recently involved in a pedestrian accident in Vancouver, you could be eligible for financial compensation from a motor vehicle driver or another at-fault party. If someone else caused or contributed to your accident, that party may be responsible for paying for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and more. Contact a Vancouver pedestrian accident attorney for a free case consultation.

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