November Is the Deadliest Month for Pedestrians in Kentucky

Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday, November 5th, ushering in an earlier nightfall. Unfortunately, studies show that pedestrians and bicyclists are at an increased risk during this time. When night comes earlier, pedestrian fatalities significantly increase.

Per the Courier Journal:

Data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the volume of motor vehicle crashes and the number of pedestrians killed in traffic incidents indicates that once Daylight Savings Time ends, pedestrian deaths increase. While November is the highest, December and February also ranked high for pedestrian danger in Kentucky.

“Approximately 75% of pedestrian deaths in Louisville occur during non-daylight hours,” Claire Yates, transportation planner with Louisville Metro Government, told the publication. “Pedestrians and motorists need to be reminded to be extra vigilant.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reports that in 2021, 7,388 pedestrians were killed in accidents in the United States – a 13% increase from 2020. More than 60,000 pedestrians were injured.

Here in Kentucky, the Courier Journal also reports that “of the 96 pedestrian deaths in Kentucky last year, 67 occurred after dark. So far this year, there have been 69 pedestrian deaths, 49 of which occurred after dark.”

Where are pedestrian deaths happening in Louisville?

Yates notes that most fatal and serious injury crashes happen on high-speed roads. These include:

  • Broadway
  • Dixie Highway
  • Preston
  • New Cut
  • Cane Run
  • Taylor Boulevard

She adds, “These are the types of roads where motorists drive over the speed limit and we consistently see people killed or seriously injured.”

Since 2016, over 600 people have been killed on Kentucky’s streets and highways.

What is Vision Zero?

The state of Kentucky participates in the Vision Zero program, a transportation safety initiative. Vision Zero “prioritizes the prevention of fatal and serious injury crashes.” They do this by utilizing the Safe System Approach, recommended by the US Department of Transportation. The goal of Vision Zero in Kentucky is to eliminate all traffic deaths by the year 2050.

What is the Safe System Approach?

The Safe System Approach is a comprehensive framework for road safety that emphasizes designing and managing the transportation system to account for human errors and vulnerabilities. Its ultimate goal is to prevent fatalities and serious injuries. This approach also recognizes that people will make mistakes, but the system should be forgiving enough to avoid catastrophic outcomes.

Key principles of the Safe System Approach include:

  • Safe roads. Designing roads and infrastructure with safety in mind is the core aspect of the Safe System Approach. This involves implementing measures such as traffic calming, well-designed intersections, adequate signage, and separation of vulnerable road users, like pedestrians, from high-speed traffic.
  • Shared responsibility. The Safe System Approach emphasizes that responsibility for road safety is shared among various stakeholders, including road users, vehicle manufacturers, road designers, law enforcement, and policymakers. Everyone has a role in creating a safer transportation system.
  • Safe vehicles. The Safe System Approach also prioritizes vehicles with advanced safety features. This includes technologies such as collision avoidance systems, lane departure warnings, and advanced braking systems that can mitigate the severity of crashes.
  • Safe speeds. Ensuring that vehicles travel at safe speeds is a key component of the Safe System Approach. This may involve setting appropriate speed limits, implementing speed management strategies, and using speed-reducing infrastructure.
  • Safe users. Vision Zero involves everyone. Encouraging responsible behavior among road users is essential. This includes promoting adherence to traffic rules, discouraging impaired or distracted driving, and improving education and awareness about road safety.

The Safe System Approach’s goal is to create a more forgiving transportation system that reduces the likelihood and severity of road crashes. The aim is to create a system where even if mistakes occur, they do not result in fatal or serious injuries. This approach aligns with a vision of zero fatalities on the road, emphasizing that any loss of life or serious injury is unacceptable.

How to avoid pedestrian accidents in Louisville

Try to avoid walking or bike riding after dark. If you need to, however, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Light yourself up. The Courier Journal recommends you “invest in light-colored clothing with reflective detailing and get yourself some high-visibility accessories. Front and rear lights are a must for people who ride bicycles in non-daylight hours.”
  • Take out the earbuds. You should always be aware of your surroundings in case of oncoming vehicles. Don’t wear earbuds, or drastically reduce the volume so you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Don’t walk alone at night. There is safety in numbers. After dark, walk with a friend or join a walking/running group.
  • Stick to well-lit routes to decrease the risk of tripping or falling. Make sure you use crosswalks – jaywalking or crossing between parked vehicles can increase the risk of a Louisville pedestrian accident.
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If this is not possible, walk facing traffic so you can see any oncoming dangers.
  • Don’t count on the traffic signal. Make sure you look both ways for oncoming vehicles before crossing at the signal, even if it’s green.

Drivers also have a responsibility to keep pedestrians safe. They should:

  • Never drive while drunk or distracted.
  • Yield to all pedestrians, being especially careful during turns and at intersections.
  • Obey the speed limit, which allows reaction time in the event of an emergency.
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and neighborhoods. Children are harder to see and may dart into the street without being aware of the dangers.

If you or someone you love was injured in a pedestrian accident, the experienced attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers are here to help you recover compensation for your damages and losses. We can help you hold the right people responsible for your accident. To schedule a free consultation, call our Kentucky offices or complete our contact form. With offices in both Lexington and Louisville, we proudly extend our services to clients across Kentucky.