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Older pedestrians more likely to be killed in accidents

All pedestrians are at risk for being involved in an accident. However, elderly pedestrians have a higher risk of being killed in a traffic accident compared to younger pedestrians, according to a new government report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that an estimated 4,000 pedestrians are killed in traffic-related fatalities every year in the U.S. After analyzing data from the last decade, they reported that pedestrians 75-years-old and older were twice as likely to be victims of fatal pedestrian accidents.

Older pedestrians are more likely to die after a pedestrian accident because they have a harder time recovering from the injuries sustained in an accident. The report noted that while older pedestrians actually walk less than younger pedestrians, they are more vulnerable to be hit by traffic. They link this to their decline in mental function, physical disabilities and vision that puts them at a higher risk for being hit by a vehicle while walking.

Safety experts are worried that pedestrian accidents involving elderly people may increase in the future due to people living longer, healthier lives. That is why the CDC is trying to take action to prevent future fatal pedestrian accidents from happening.

Pedestrian fatalities are preventable. The CDC said that cities and counties should make efforts to create sidewalks and streets that are safe for pedestrians. They said that having speed bumps and enforcing distracted driving and speeding laws can also help reduce pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrians do need to follow traffic signals and laws while walking, but the same is true for motorists. Unfortunately, when motorists violate traffic safety laws, pedestrians may pay the price. Victims of pedestrian accidents may be able to take legal action against the motorist involved in the accident, especially if the driver's negligence or unsafe driving behavior led to the accident.

Source: My Fox LA, "Odds of dying in traffic accident increase with age," April 19, 2013

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