Multiple studies have shown that older people are at a much greater risk than younger bystanders for fatal injuries stemming from pedestrian accidents. Older pedestrians are at a considerably greater risk than their younger counterparts when they go for a walk. In fact, the pedestrian fatality rate for people over 60 years old is 2.5 times higher than for people under 60.
One study, in particular, tracked data from a 10 year period that revealed that 38 percent of pedestrian fatalities over that decade were people aged 60 or over, despite the fact that that age group makes up only 17.5 percent of the population. The numbers were even worse for pedestrians ages 75 and older, who account for only six percent of the population, but 18 percent of the pedestrian deaths.
So why are seniors more vulnerable to fatal traffic accidents? Researchers say that seniors often suffer from decreased bone density. This means that their bones are more prone to breaking as a result of a traffic accident. These broken bones can often cause other complications like organ damage or infections that can eventually lead to death.
Second, seniors lack the mobility of younger pedestrians. This can make it more difficult for them to react to changing traffic conditions or to avoid being hit by cars that they did not see coming. In light of these particular issues, the report makes a variety of recommendations for keeping the streets safer for older pedestrians.
Recommended Safety Measures
The safety recommendations for older pedestrians are mainly comprised of “simple roadway improvements.” For instance, creating more clearly marked crosswalks would let cars see older pedestrians on the road more easily. Similarly, adding time to the walk cycles at crosswalks, and widening pedestrian islands, would provide more safe spaces for older pedestrians during the crossing. These changes become more even more important as Virginia’s elderly population continues to increase.
If you or an elderly loved one was recently the victim of a pedestrian accident, reach out to a dedicated Virginia pedestrian accident attorney today. Our firm’s skilled team of professionals can help you understand your legal options for the injuries that were suffered. Victims of pedestrian accidents are often entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any other losses that were caused by the accident.