Archive for the ‘Pedestrian accidents’ Category

Texas Approves $345 Million for Pedestrian and Bike Safety

Pedestrian signal for crossing street in downtown Houston, TX.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently approved $345 million worth of projects, including bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways, designed to make the state safer for everyone and reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents in Texas.

“This is a major investment in communities across the state that will help make it safer and easier to get around on foot or a bike,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Robert “Robie” Vaughn said in a statement recently released by TxDOT. “This optionality supports safety, active lifestyles, health and wellness, and can provide alternatives to traveling by vehicle.”

Pedestrian and bicycle projects in Houston, Texas

The $345 million will be spent on 83 projects throughout the state. According to TxDOT officials, “These projects will help improve safety for people walking, biking, or using wheelchairs, including 24 projects that will go in areas with a high pedestrian crash history.”

In the Houston area, such bicycle and pedestrian projects include:

  • Construction of West Loop shared-use path and Bayou Bridge in Harris County, Texas – $18.45 million.
  • Multi-modal path construction in University Asia Town area – $8.87 million.
  • Construction of shared use path in The Woodlands, Texas – $7.47 million.
  • Construction of Emancipation Trail shared use path in La Marque, Texas – $4.5 million.
  • Bicycle lane and sidewalk construction in Angleton, Texas – $4.27 million.
  • Sidewalk construction, traffic signal improvements, and other pedestrian projects in Dickinson, Texas – $2.8 million.
  • Construction of sidewalks and other public safety improvements in Hitchcock, Texas – $2.45 million.
  • Sidewalk improvement project in West Columbia, Texas – $2.26 million.
  • Bicycle transit study in Harris County, Texas – $920,000.
  • Planning study for Improving Safety and Access to White Oak Bayou – $460,000.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle master plan designed to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in Houston – $368,000.
  • Transportation plan in Clute, Texas – $288,075.

Pedestrian accidents on the rise

One of the driving forces behind these projects is the dramatic increase in the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities throughout Texas in recent years. Between 2013 and 2022, the number of pedestrian accident deaths in Texas has increased by 72.9 percent, from 480 deaths in 2013 to 830 deaths in 2022, according to accident data collected by TxDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Bicycle accidents are also a problem

Along with pedestrian fatalities, fatal bicycle accidents have increased sharply in the past decade in Texas. Between 2013 and 2022, bicycle accident deaths have increased by a staggering 91.6 percent, from 48 deaths in 2013 to 92 bicycle fatalities in 2022, according to the NHTSA and TxDOT.

“People who walk and bike make up about 1 out of every 5 deaths on roadways here in Texas,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New in a recent statement. “These projects will help the state move closer toward the goal of zero deaths by giving people a place to walk and bike separate from traffic.”

Contact a Houston, TX pedestrian accident attorney

An insurance claim involving a cyclist or pedestrian hit by a car might initially seem straightforward. But many times, they become complicated legal cases. That’s because the stakes can be high, and rather than paying injury victims the money they deserve, insurance companies will often do everything they can to reduce or deny injury claims.

Our Houston pedestrian accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler know how to handle insurance companies and can help you every step of the way. We know how to investigate such accidents and what evidence to look for to build a strong legal case. Many insurance companies agree to negotiate in good faith once they see we’re serious about your case. If not, we’re not afraid to file a pedestrian accident lawsuit on your behalf, seeking the compensation you deserve.

Get the law firm that gets results for injured Texans, and schedule a free case evaluation with a Houston pedestrian accident attorney who puts your best interests first. We have four offices conveniently located throughout Texas, including three offices in Houston. We also offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no fees unless we win your case. Contact us today to learn more about your potential legal options.

Houston’s Vision Zero Effort Seeing Mixed Results

Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline and highway.

Houston’s Vision Zero report for 2022 indicates a slight decrease in traffic fatalities compared to the previous year, but the reduction is modest, and more work still needs to be done. Despite this decrease, over 320 individuals died on Houston’s roadways in 2022, and nearly 1,600 others suffered severe injuries in traffic-related incidents.

In concrete terms, the report reveals that eight fewer car accident fatalities were recorded in 2022 compared to the previous year, alongside 28 fewer injuries. While these improvements are encouraging, they are a reminder that Houston is still far from achieving the ultimate vision of zero lives lost due to traffic accidents.

Houston’s 2022 Vision Zero report

In 2022, Houston witnessed 323 fatalities due to traffic-related incidents, marking a 2.4% decrease compared to the previous year’s statistics. The death toll includes motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The report also revealed that 1,592 people sustained severe injuries while navigating Houston’s roadways throughout the year.

Here are other key takeaways from Houston’s Vision Zero report:

  • There were 115 pedestrian fatalities in 2022, an 8.5% increase compared to 2021
  • 245 pedestrians suffered serious injuries, up 11% from 2021.
  • 37 people died in motorcycle accidents, a 9% increase over 2021.
  • 165 motorcyclists sustained severe injuries, marking an 11% increase.

However, there were positive developments as well, as drivers and passengers witnessed a decline in traffic fatalities and serious injuries last year. These findings are notable, especially considering the 20% increase in traffic fatalities from 2020 to 2021. Encouragingly, the number of people who suffered serious injuries decreased from 1,624 in 2021 to 1,592 in 2022, marking a 1.7% decrease.

‘No loss of life is acceptable’

In response to the Vision Zero report, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner emphasized that “no loss of life is acceptable.” He highlighted concerns regarding the increasing number of cyclist fatalities in 2023, with 12 bicyclists tragically losing their lives.

However, Turner also noted the positive aspect of the overall reduction in fatalities and serious injuries in 2022. During his eight-year tenure as mayor, the city has implemented significant safety measures, including comprehensive street overhauls and the expansion of multimodal transportation options. These efforts take into consideration the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation users and other alternatives to personal vehicles.

Street safety projects in Houston

The report highlighted the effectiveness of these safety initiatives by spotlighting five specific street safety projects completed since 2019. These projects involved reducing vehicle lanes, expanding sidewalks, and introducing protected bicycle lanes.

The areas that underwent these transformations include:

  • Austin Street between Holman and Commerce streets
  • Bagby Street from Clay to Franklin streets
  • Gray Street between Bagby and Hamilton streets
  • Hillcroft Avenue from High Star to Westward streets
  • McKinney Street between Main and La Branch streets

According to a report by Houston Public Media, all these areas experienced a reduction in crashes, fatalities, and injuries resulting from crashes. Notably, no fatalities were reported among those using protected bike lanes.

More safety enhancements scheduled for Houston

The city’s commitment to enhancing safety and accessibility includes the construction of 6 miles of sidewalks and 20 miles of bikeways in 2022. The city has ambitious plans to add an additional 155 miles of bike lanes in 2023, according to the recent Vision Zero report.

“Houston is committed to Vision Zero and making the city more accessible for people of all modes,” Turner said. “The results speak for themselves – our comprehensive approach of safety and multimodal planning is making Houston a safer city.”

Holding negligent drivers accountable in Houston

For safer roadways in Houston, it’s essential not only to focus on preventive measures but also on accountability. When car accidents occur due to negligent drivers, it’s important for crash victims to seek justice and accountability through the justice system.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Houston car accident involving negligence, Smith & Hassler is here to help. Our Houston car accident lawyers understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a serious accident can have on crash victims and their loved ones. That’s why our dedicated legal team is committed to protecting your rights and fighting for the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Pedestrian Deaths Reach Highest Number in 41 Years

A pedestrian crossing sign behind a blue sky background

A sobering look at a troubling trend

The U.S. has witnessed an alarming increase in pedestrian fatalities in recent years. And according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrian deaths has now soared to levels unseen in the past 41 years.

In 2022 alone, at least 7,508 pedestrians died, marking the highest death toll in four decades. And since 2010, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 77%, well ahead of the 25% increase in other traffic-related deaths.

“Every day, 20 people go for a walk and do not return home,” Jonathan Adkins, chief executive officer of the safety group, said in a statement published by Forbes. “These are people living their daily lives – commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise – who died suddenly and violently.”

This rise in serious and fatal pedestrian accidents is primarily attributed to dangerous driving habits, insufficient infrastructure, and the popularity of larger, heavier vehicles like SUVs. The report underscores the urgent need to address the ongoing crisis of pedestrian safety on our roads and highlights the need for injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable.

Pedestrian accident statistics

The GHSA report, titled “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State,” presents preliminary data from 2022 and highlights the ongoing increase in pedestrian deaths over the past decade.

It also emphasizes that dangerous driving behaviors that emerged during the pandemic in 2020 have not subsided.

The report provides several insights into pedestrian safety trends from 2010 to 2021, including:

  • Most pedestrian fatalities occur at night, and nighttime deaths have increased in recent years.
  • Due to their taller profile and bigger blind spots, SUVs and light trucks pose a greater risk to pedestrians on a per-vehicle basis. While fatal pedestrian crashes involving passenger cars remain the highest in number due to the sheer quantity of cars, deaths involving SUVs have increased at a much faster rate (120% compared to 26% for passenger cars) in the past decade.
  • The absence of sidewalks continues to be a significant factor in pedestrian fatalities, with 69% of deaths occurring in areas without sidewalks in 2021, showing a steady increase from 59% in 2017.
  • The risk of pedestrian death exponentially increases with higher vehicle speeds, ranging from 10% at 23 mph to 90% at 58 mph. In 2021, 8.1% of pedestrian fatalities involved speeding drivers, slightly lower than the previous year but higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Drunk driving is the main contributing factor in 19 percent of pedestrian accident deaths.
  • Non-freeway arterial roads pose the highest risk to pedestrians, accounting for 60% of all fatalities. These roads typically have high traffic volumes, high speeds, and eventually connect to freeways. About 18% of pedestrian deaths occur on freeways, often involving stranded motorists, first responders, and tow truck drivers. The report recommends strengthening and promoting Move Over laws that require drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching stopped vehicles.

The GHSA report also listed the number of pedestrian fatalities by state from 2019 to 2022. In 2019, there were 661 pedestrian deaths in Texas, which increased to 714 in 2020. In 2021, the number rose further to 826 fatalities. In the most recent data available, the preliminary figures for 2022 show a slight increase to 834 deaths.

Addressing the problem

The report emphasized the importance of addressing dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving through targeted traffic enforcement.

It also highlighted the need to educate new drivers about their responsibility to be aware of and yield to pedestrians and other road users.

Additionally, the GHSA advocated for adopting the Safe System approach to road safety, which originated in Sweden in the 1990s. This approach aims to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries by implementing various layers of protection, including safer road design, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and improved post-crash care.

Claims involving pedestrian accidents can be complicated

Insurance companies often employ various tactics to downplay or deny pedestrian accident claims to minimize their financial liability. Common strategies include:

  • Challenging fault: The insurance company for the at-fault driver may try to shift blame onto the pedestrian by arguing that the pedestrian was distracted, jaywalking, or acting negligently at the time of the accident, thereby reducing or eliminating the insurance company’s responsibility to provide compensation for the victim’s losses.
  • Disputing injury severity: Insurers may claim that the pedestrian’s injuries are less severe than stated or attribute damages to pre-existing conditions.
  • Questioning medical treatment: Insurance companies may raise doubts about the necessity or extent of medical treatments, aiming to reduce the claim amount.
  • Delay tactics: Prolonged investigations and excessive documentation requests can be used to frustrate a claimant and discourage them to the point of accepting a lowball settlement offer or giving up on the claim altogether.

To navigate these complexities and ensure their rights are protected, it is crucial for victims to seek the guidance and representation of a lawyer experienced in pedestrian accident claims. An attorney can help gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, advocate for the pedestrian’s best interests, and pursue the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law.

Contact Smith & Hassler for a free case evaluation

Our Houston-based law firm is committed to fighting for the compensation injured pedestrians deserve. With decades of experience, we understand what it takes to get meaningful results for accident victims and their families.

If you were hit by a car or a loved one died in a pedestrian accident, we can guide you through the legal process and help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for your losses.

To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Texas ranks in top 5 U.S. states for pedestrian fatalities and projections show deaths will increase

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Texas continues to be a deadly place for pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities in Texas totaled 621 in 2018, six more than the 615 fatalities in 2017, according to Houston Public Radio and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

The Lone Star State’s pedestrian deaths in 2017 accounted for 10 percent of America’s total.

The most dangerous roads in the nation

TxDOT reported that there were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2018, meaning that each day saw a death or deaths of pedestrians or car occupants.

Estimates from state and local officials to the federal government project 635 pedestrian fatalities in Texas in 2020, 657 in 2021 and 680 in 2022, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From 2008-2017, Texas was among the 20 most dangerous states in America in terms of pedestrian fatalities with 4,831, topped only in that period by California’s 7,127 and Florida’s 5,433. That’s according to the Pedestrian Safety Index compiled by advocacy groups Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Texas and four other states — Florida, California, Georgia and Arizona — accounted for nearly half of the 6,227 pedestrian accident deaths in the United States in 2018, said the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Among the factors that make Texas dangerous for pedestrians, according to the media and government reports:

  • Drivers distracted by using cell phones, applying cosmetics, eating, petting dogs and performing other activities
  • An increase of SUVs and other larger vehicles on the roads
  • Population growth that has more people out walking
  • Contentions from critics that projects to make roads, intersections and driver behavior safer for pedestrians are underfunded
  • Pedestrians who themselves are walking distracted and sometimes step into traffic
  • Speeding
  • Alcohol impairment
  • Too few crosswalks that make them too far a walk for some pedestrians. Research has found most people will walk only 300 feet to the nearest crosswalk

In Dallas, streets are dangerous for pedestrians because they often feature multiple lanes of high-speed traffic without a significant buffer. While most pedestrian accidents happen in places where high numbers of walkers, cars and trucks come together, pedestrian deaths are most likely when people on foot walk near cars moving at high speeds, according to the Dallas Observer.

TxDOT plans to dedicate $600 million for improvements along roadways for:

  • Widening roads
  • Adding rumble strips along center lines and shoulders to help drivers
  • Adding and reinforcing shoulders along roadways
  • Adding select turn lanes
  • Making technological improvements

Pedestrian fatalities on the rise

From 2008-2017, pedestrian accident deaths in the U.S. increased 35 percent, to 5,977 from 4,414, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report.

After adjusting for anticipated underreporting in some state data and considering trends in pedestrian fatalities, the report estimated the number of pedestrian accident deaths nationwide in 2018 to be 6,227.

That puts pedestrian deaths at a near-30-year high, given that 6,482 pedestrian accident deaths occurred in 1990, according to

Contact the car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law in Houston, Texas today if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident.

Person killed changing flat tire on I-45 at North Loop

A fatal crash early this morning shut down all lanes of Interstate 45 at the North 610 Loop. According to Channel 2 News, a black car was stopped in the fast lane of I-45 to change a flat tire. A white-colored Honda car stopped behind the black car to assist. One of the drivers was standing behind the white Honda when a white-colored Dodge Ram pickup slammed into the back of the Honda, killing the person who was standing between the two vehicles.

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Texas Outhouse truck runs over, kills pedestrian in downtown Houston

A pedestrian was killed in an accident in downtown Houston the afternoon of Tuesday October 4, 2016. The accident happened on Commerce Street near North Hamilton Street. The truck, which belonged to Texas Outhouse, hit the pedestrian at around 3:30 p.m. First responders were unable to revive the pedestrian using CPR. A witness named Charla Pickett interviewed by Channel 13 News said the victim was a homeless man and the truck driver didn’t realize he had run over the man until she told him.

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Hit-and-run accident kills Montrose pedestrian

A man in his early 20’s was killed in a hit-and-run accident in the Montrose area of Houston this morning. The man was crossing in a pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Westheiemer and Taft when a black-colored sedan ran a red light, hitting the man and fleeing the scene. The vehicle will have visible damage from colliding with the pedestrian; anyone who has information they think might help police should contact Houston Crime Stoppers at 713 222 TIPS.

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Montrose fatal auto-pedestrian hit-and-run accident

Edson Alanis Manzano fatally struck by 18 wheeler on Highway 146, Bacliff, TX

20-year old landscape worker Edson Alanis Manzano was fatally struck by an out-of-control 18-wheeler as he worked alongside Highway 146 in Bacliff, Texas. The accident happened Monday June 30th as Edson was trimming back weeds at Highway 146 and FM 646. The big rig, pulling a tanker trailer, veered off the roadway on its way from La Porte to Texas City, striking Edson. Witness Jacob Cortez, who saw the accident, said he thought perhaps the driver had fallen asleep, and said that when the driver exited the truck after the accident the driver looked stunned. Edson was working for a company called BIO Landscape and performing a contract for the Texas Department of Transportation.

The driver, 55-year old Glendall Bickwenhert from Kentucky, was cooperating with the police investigation. The 18-wheeler is owned by Indiana-based Time Dedicated DC Carriers, whose U.S. Dept of Transportation profile states the company operates 45 trucks.

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Scene of the fatal accident

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Five people hurt in car towing accident off Beltway 8

Five people were sent to the hospital when an attempt to tow a disable vehicle ended with a car accident. Channel 2 reports that some folks were using a Ford Explorer SUV to tow a car when the towing strap became dislodged. A nearby security guard tried to assist a man and woman involved in the towing effort to reconnect the tow strap, and as he was doing so a car crashed into them. The security guard was thrown up onto the car’s windshield. The accident happened off Beltway 8 on Wednesday April 29th.

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Emergency responders help the injured

Josey Scott killed while jogging by hit-and-run driver

19-year old Josey Scott of Shepherd, Texas was fatally struck by a hit-and-run vehicle while jogging eastbound on FM 2666, about four miles west of Shepherd. Texas Department of Public Safety investigators say there was minimal debris left at the scene of the accident, which happened around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday February 11th. Troopers think the hit-and-run vehicle may have been a teal or green-colored Chevrolet pickup truck, late 80’s model, with significant damage to the front of the vehicle. Anyone with information that may help law enforcement track down the driver who killed Josey and callously left her in the roadway should call Lufkin DPS at 936-699-7340.