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October Named National Pedestrian Safety Month

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently named the first-ever October National Pedestrian Safety Month. Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users in America, and the agencies hope this event increases awareness and saves lives.

The NHTSA Deputy Director said, “[W]e are all pedestrians — especially right now, when everyone wants to get outside.” The organization plans to publish safety tips and resources each week of October to educate the public on driving behaviors that endanger pedestrians.

How does Kentucky rate in pedestrian safety?

Kentuckians can benefit from the new NHTSA programming. The Bluegrass State ranks near the middle in annual pedestrian deaths, so we have room for improvement. 79 pedestrians lost their lives on Kentucky roads in 2019, contributing to the nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths nationwide. Less than 1% of all accidents involved a pedestrian that year, yet their deaths made up 12% of all fatal accidents. Kentuckians could help correct this tragic overrepresentation by adopting the recommendations from the NHTSA.

Resources are available online

For the first week of National Pedestrian Safety Month, the NHTSA published safety tips for drivers and pedestrians. These simple, 5-step guidelines can help Kentucky drivers revisit their traffic safety basics and safely account for pedestrians. Pedestrians can also learn a few tips for protecting themselves on the road.

For example, when walking, you should refrain from using your smartphone too much or wearing noise-canceling headphones. These modern-day distractions can severely limit your awareness and increase your risk of danger around cars.

Legal protections for pedestrians

Over 1,000 pedestrians were involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2019, resulting in nearly 1,000 criminal cases. Kentucky courts rarely find pedestrians at fault when struck by a vehicle, but victims should not take any chances. Those injured in a car accident will find more success securing coverage for their injuries by working with a local attorney familiar with Kentucky motor vehicle laws.