Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents
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Almost two-thirds of the 1.2 million people killed annually in road traffic crashes worldwide are pedestrians.

Pedestrian – Bus Accidents

Each year about 20 school-aged pedestrians are involved in fatal accidents with school buses. Almost half of these accidents involve the child colliding with the front of the bus. In most cases, the bus driver can be held at fault. Depending on circumstances the transportation company, the bus owner, local government, bus manufacturer and even manufacturers of components in the bus may be held liable for damages.

Pedestrian – Car Accidents

Most pedestrian crashes involve a forward moving car (as opposed to buses and other vehicles with a vertical hood/bonnet). In such a crash, a standing or walking pedestrian is struck and accelerated to the speed of the car and then continues forward as the car brakes to a halt. Although the pedestrian is impacted twice, first by the car and then by the ground, most of the fatal injuries occur due to the interaction with the car. The car-pedestrian interaction is characterized by the following sequence of events: the vehicle bumper first contacts the lower limbs of the pedestrian, the leading edge of the hood hits the upper thigh or pelvis, and the head and upper torso are struck by the top surface of the hood and/or windshield.

Most Common Injuries

Most pedestrian deaths occur due to the traumatic brain injury resulting from the hard impact of the head against the stiff hood or windshield. In addition, although usually non-fatal, injuries to the lower limb (usually to the knee joint and long bones) are the most common cause of disability due to pedestrian crashes.

Most Common Reasons for Accidents

Some of the most common causes for bus accidents are:

  • Inadequate training of the driver
  • Exceeding the capacity of the bus or carrying excess baggage
  • Failing to maintain equipment – brakes, brake lights, signals, etc.
  • Driving a bus when conditions are poor – foggy, icy, heavy rain, snowing
  • Driving when fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or narcotics
  • Speeding or reckless driving

After a Pedestrian Accident

Do not leave the scene of the accident unless it is in an ambulance. If you are able to do so, get the information of the person involved in the accident – name, address, phone number, drivers license number and expiration date, vehicle license plate, registration and insurance company and policy number. Also get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. Call the police and wait for them to arrive. If they do not come to the scene, file a report immediately. You may contact your insurance company and make them aware of the accident. It is important to remember that even if you are the victim of a hit-and-run, you need to report the incident to the police and to your insurance company.

Vulnerable Groups of Pedestrian

There are two groups of people who are the most at risk for pedestrian – motor vehicle accident:

  • Children
  • Seniors

Child Risk Factors

The main risk factors for children are:

  • Physical development: The head, chest and abdomen are still in a growth state; smaller, softer, sensory facilities are under-developed; there is inadequate ability to synthesize information from peripheral fields of vision and the auditory sense.
  • Cognitive: Although visual processes are fully developed, a full integration of visual signals into a meaningful context is not in place until 10–12 years. (80)
  • Socio-economic status: Children living in low SES areas will choose routes to avoid social risks, typically have higher traffic volumes and fewer safe places to play.
  • Parental knowledge, attitudes and behaviours: There tends to be an acceptance that injuries are part of growing up; however, the best predictor of parental involvement is a strong concern about safety of the environment and a sense of neighbourhood solidarity or connectivity.
  • Environment: There is a higher risk of injury where there are high traffic volumes, high density of parked cars, high speed limits, limited safe play choices and low-income urban areas.
  • Drivers: High speeding behaviour
  • Using roller skates or skateboards
  • Talking on a cell phone while crossing a street


Nowadays, more seniors “aging in place” in the suburbs, where amenities are not close at hand. Seniors being more active – volunteering and working longer to support their increased life expectancy or providing child care for grandchildren. The fact that in some communities it is difficult for people to access a family physician, senior’s clubs or shopping centres traveling on foot, makes seniors taking public transportation and crossing the roads. So, the most common injuries of seniors happen due to:

Seniors Risk Factors

The main risk factors for seniors are:

  • Reduced vision – especially at night.
  • Difficulty judging distance and speed.
  • Limited movement and range of motion.
  • Slower reaction time.
  • Difficulty focusing attention for long periods of time.
  • Easily distracted.
  • More time needed to understand what is seen and heard.
  • More use of prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs that may impair driving ability.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Transportation

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