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Can safer roads prevent pedestrian injuries and death?

Pedestrian safety is a major concern in Maryland communities. Many communities promote walking for daily activities and other communities consist of lower income demographics that may have no other choice but to walk throughout their community. Data indicating significant pedestrian deaths and injuries as a result of accidents have led some to question the safety of Maryland state roads.

Pedestrian safety advocates feel that the Maryland State Highway Administration is ignoring the dangers in several problem areas and failing to act quickly. Advocates say that one roadway, in particular, has had 138 reported pedestrian accidents within a two-mile stretch of the roadway -- University Boulevard in Langley Park -- in a five year time period. Out of the 138 accidents, eight deaths have occurred. Another busy state road (Georgia Avenue in Baltimore) has had 22 reported pedestrian accidents in the last two years.

While the MSHA argues that most pedestrian accidents likely occur due to distracted and careless drivers and/or distracted pedestrians, safety advocates contend that more can be done to prevent unnecessary tragedies. Safety advocates believe that increased crosswalks, median fences to prevent jaywalking and reduced speed limits could have a significant impact on the number of accidents that occur on dangerous roads. Pedestrian safety advocates also insist that evidence exists that demonstrates simple safety engineering combined with driver and pedestrian education can reduce the number of accidents that occur.

Sadly, accidents will continue to occur whether roads are safe due to unsafe walking conditions, distracted drivers or walkers. Unfortunately, because a pedestrian has no barrier to protect themselves when struck by a vehicle, serious injuries and death can occur. Victims or surviving family members of deceased victims may want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney in Maryland in the event of a pedestrian accident to be advised of available options for legal recourse. In cases where negligence on the part of a driver may exist, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be pursued in civil court.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Maryland pedestrian accidents pile up on state roads", Lindsay Huth, Angela Roberts, Jake Gluck, Dec. 27, 2017

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