When looking at a pedestrian accidents, one of the biggest factors that contributes to the outcome—and the likelihood of either serious injuries or the death of the pedestrian—is impact speed. Studies have been carried out for years to find out how the speed of the vehicle changes the situation and what can be done to keep people safe.
One study found that the risk of a severe injury hit 10 percent if a car was traveling at just 16 miles per hour when it hit a person. This is well under most speed limits, even in residential areas where people are often present.
When a car is going 23 miles per hour, the study found that the risk of severe injury jumped all the way to 25 percent. It then reached 50 percent when the vehicle was going only 31 miles per hour. At 39 miles per hour, it jumped again to 75 percent, and it topped out at 90 percent when a car was going only 46 miles per hour.
The risk of death followed a similar trend, though the speeds were higher. At 23 miles per hour, the risk was 10 percent. It didn’t reach 25 percent until the car was going 32 miles per hour, and it hit 50 percent when the vehicle was going 42 miles per hour. If a car was going 50 miles per hour, the risk of death was 75 percent, and it reached a full 90 percent for a vehicle going 58 miles per hour.
As this study shows, drivers don’t even have to break the speed limit to put pedestrians at serious risk, so it’s important to know your rights to compensation if you are hit or if a loved one is injured or killed in California.
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death,” Brian C. Tefft, accessed March 18, 2016