Pedestrians are the most vulnerable victims of traffic accidents. Unlike occupants of vehicles, motorcyclists or bicyclists, they have no protection if they are hit by a vehicle.

Most people would guess that children are the most likely to be injured or killed in a car accident, but actually they are the least likely, according to National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) statistics.

In fact, the older you get the more likely you will be injured or killed in a pedestrian traffic accident, NTHSA statistics show.

The lowest pedestrian death rate is for children, but it gets higher and higher as people age with the highest death rate for pedestrians ages 70 years old and up. Also, over the past three decades, senior pedestrian accidents increased while other age groups have shown significant decreases. Since 1975, this age group’s pedestrian accident rate has actually grown by 77%.  Seniors ages 74 to 85 years old, however, are the most likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident.

In California, the number of seniors ages 65 years who were killed in pedestrian traffic accidents was up 4.6% in 2010 from 145 in 2009 to 150 in 2010, according to a report issued in February 2012 by the California Office for Traffic Safety.

Nationally, senior pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 19% (775) of all pedestrian fatalities and an estimated 8 % (5,000) of all pedestrians injured in 2009, according to the NHTSA. Yet seniors make up roughly 13% of the population, making the number of pedestrian accidents among this age group significantly high.

So why are more seniors getting injured or killed in pedestrian traffic accidents? One explanation is that many of them tend to be slower than the rest of the majority of the population. Countdown clocks at major roads allow enough time for the average adult to cross the street, but many seniors need more time to cross and impatient drivers may run them down.

“Many seniors in California are quite active and enjoy walking and getting outdoors to exercise,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. “Spending more time exercising is great, but sometimes seniors like other adults take shortcuts in unmarked crosswalks and this can be a deadly decision.”

Indeed, roughly 72% of all pedestrian accidents are killed while crossing outside of a marked intersection and 70% are killed in the nighttime, according to NHTSA.

Certainly there are risks for every pedestrian on our roadways so our drivers need to be attentive, patient and exercise caution around pedestrians – especially our seniors.

The Seegmiller Law Firm has offices in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada with a staff knowledgeable about all matters involving personal injury victims such as those involved in a pedestrian accident. We have offices to serve you in Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, the Inland Empire and throughout Southern California.

For more information check out our website theseegmillerlawfirm.com.  If you have a personal injury claim you would like to discuss call our expert attorneys call us for a free expert opinion on the matter at 1-855-ASK WEST.