Recent studies have shown that low-speed vehicle crashes can present the same level of risk of injury or death as high-speed crashes. Vehicle impact at slow speeds puts pedestrians in danger in many different areas, particularly in urban neighborhoods.
How Speed Influences Risk
In a 2011 study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, they found that the fatality rate rises substantially as speed exceeds beyond relatively low speeds. At speeds below around 15 miles per hour, risks are fairly low and increase slowly with smaller increments in speed, but once they exceed 15 miles per hour the small changes in speed can result in large risk increases.
In fact, the death rate is over twice when vehicles travel from 25 to 35 MPH Pedestrian deaths from vehicle crashes are also still at unacceptable levels, although they have lowered in recent years. Part of the reason for the increase in pedestrian fatalities is because of the higher number of pedestrians resulting from a higher focus on exercise, environmental awareness resulting in fewer drivers, and a population that continues to age and become incapable of driving, among other factors.
Age is another factor, with the study concluding that the risk of death for a 30-year-old pedestrian is the same for a 70-year-old struck by a vehicle traveling 10 MPH slower. For instance, the risk of death for a 30-year-old struck by a vehicle traveling at 35 MPH is equal to the risk of death of a 70-year-old struck by a vehicle at 25 MPH.
Preventive Measures to Prevent Accidents
As pedestrian injury and death continues to increase, there have been more developments in safety measures. These include traffic calming techniques, including lane narrowing, roadway curvature changes, speed bumps, and more enforcement of and reduced speed limits. Newer steel traffic posts have also been developed recently, designed to handle low-speed impact more effectively than older concrete counterparts, and are intended for storefronts and other locations where pedestrians are particularly vulnerable in low-speed crashes.
With these measures in place, pedestrians may be safer in the event of low-impact vehicle crashes, but they aren’t foolproof. Both high-speed and low-speed vehicles can cause significant harm to pedestrians, but when a driver is at fault in these instances, an auto accident attorney in Las Vegas may be able to help victims and their families receive compensation.