Will DOT Taking Action Decrease Pedestrian Casualties?

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Sports car rushing to hit pedestrian

A man at a pedestrian crossing seen through the window of oncoming sports car

By accident attorney Michael Ehline – So we now have attention deficit disorder and distracted driving. But wait, there is a new crisis for a government agency to use to justify its existence. It is called “Distracted Walking.”

The Department of Transportation has become concerned with the rise in pedestrian deaths in recent years. As always, the government’s answer is always more fees, taxes, fines and regulations (some would say “over-regulation”).

This is always accompanied, of course by a need for more tax-payer funded public employees, a govt employee union, and bloated benefits and pensions. And or course, these are typically much greater and better than a typical worker in the USA.

So do the apparent benefits of more regulations reduce societal problems? Or does the bloat and overreach come to the point of diminishing returns? Does common sense, and just being a decent human being play more or less of a role in avoiding pedestrian deaths than it was? If so, why, or why not?


What the DOT is Saying About Distracted Walking

Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has termed the rise in pedestrian deaths as “distracted walking,” since this larger number of pedestrians being injured and killed while texting or listening to music. Foxx also said that drugs might also have contributed to this increase in pedestrian deaths. So if you are bee-bopping down street stoned on a joint of marijuana or playing with your cell phone, you could get hurt! Figure?

It looks like we need a new law right away to hurt the law abiding and restrict their freedoms to justify what we did as elected officials and government agencies right? Here it comes. The data for pedestrians that were killed and injured by the Department of Transportation showed a rise from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,432 in 2011. The data further shows that there were 69,000 pedestrians were injured. Oh, my god!


LA and Chicago Strike Again With the Highest Pedestrian Death Rates

Interesting that dense and overcrowded cities have more people getting injured on foot. I propose we make big cities illegal. In any event, this data shows Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York have the highest percentages of pedestrian-vehicle collision deaths. (See also, the pedestrian accident attorney blog here.)

The rate of pedestrian deaths due to motor vehicles in Los Angeles is 42 percent. It is 30 percent in Chicago and 51 percent in New York. According to a report by the U.S. Product Safety Commission, over 1,500 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms during 2011. All of these were injured while walking. Or perhaps they were walking and using electronic devices such as a cell phone.


First Step More Enforcement and a Safety Campaign – Enter the Federal Grants.

So rather than looking at population increases, DOT wants to increase “enforcement” and so-called “education” (“Here is your ticket, now pay up and don’t be distracted sir again”). The answer Foxx said is education and more enforcement, as there would be in a pedestrian safety campaign.

There are as many as twenty-two cities that are battling the increase in pedestrian harm and fatalities. These cities have until August 30th to apply for federal grants that have $2 million dollars allocated to deal with distracted walking. Remember, grants are like the Hotel California. Pure and straightforward, this is a way for the feds to get control over your state. So follow the money.

According to Foxx, who plans a pedestrian advocacy summit in the fall that will include the national nonprofit America Walks. This is a coalition of groups who advocate improving conditions for pedestrians, and all individuals in the United States walking around or ambulating as a pedestrian. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Administrator David Strickland said that everyone should play a role in pedestrian safety. And he stressed that driver’s need to adhere to driving laws.


The Safety Data.

Figures by the Department of Transportation data shows several details, including 3 out of 4 pedestrians die in urban areas. I fact, at least 2 out of three of these fatalities occurring at locations other than intersections. The highest rate of pedestrian deaths at approximately 70% happens between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. is proven in the compiled data.


What are The Flaws in the Study?

All I can say is no duh. More people get hurt in crowded cities who are on foot. And many of our clients are hit by government buses. So perhaps the government should consider that it is distracted government employees, and maybe not pedestrians.

The study also fails to distinguish that in California, the pedestrian has the right of way in most cases. But in New York, the car operator has the right of way unless the person on foot is disabled or blind.

So it would be interesting to see how many of these cases are just govt employees running people down. Then all they must do is blame a cell phone or headphones of the person walking down the street, etc.


Safety Yes, DOT Regs, and More Enforcement No.

At common law, all persons are required to act reasonably. This is a social code of conduct that is supreme even above a criminal law. It is the basic rule for life. And if a person violates this code, he or she can be sued for negligence, or be hurt or run over by a car, for example.

So education and safety are important. But it is the job of the individual to take responsibility for their actions, get off welfare and government mind control, and be a sovereign unto themselves and their neighbor, always acting with benevolence and graciousness.

So yes, right now, I am doing my part, and it did not take a new government employee, or traffic cop to raid your bank account. You just learned from me.

Hey, be careful out there and stop screwing around. In any event, there is zero evidence that big government, govt safety campaigns or anything like that reduces anything. Like the war on drugs, this is a problem that educated individuals, not their government minder, can figure out themselves, once they are left alone to use their brains. Semper Fi.
Other Sources of Information:

  1. LA Times Propaganda on Pedestrian Safety
  2. Official US Govt Propaganda on Distracted Walking
  3. More USDOT Distracted Walking PR
  4. LA. Pedestrian Lawyer Site: http://www.ehlinelaw.com/pedestrian-lawyers/

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