Recent accident in San Francisco highlights dangers to pedestrians

A 71 year-old woman was arrested on February 5, 2014 after a tragic accident killed a pedestrian in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Police on scene indicated that the driver failed to yield to a 78 year-old pedestrian in a crosswalk. The driver was charged with vehicular manslaughter and later released. The driver and two passengers in the vehicle were taken to the hospital for injuries but none were life-threatening.

Police Chief Greg Suhr has said police have stepped up enforcement of driving without regard for pedestrian safety. Last year 21 pedestrians died in motor-vehicle related accidents in San Francicso, the most since 2007.

Federal authorities promoting increased safety for elderly drivers

In addition to promoting driving habits that increase safety of pedestrians, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recently announced late last year a roadmap to help promote safety among the nation’s growing elderly population. The number of drivers on the road who are over 65 has increased by over 20 percent since 2003, NHTSA data shows. In 2012, 214,000 people over the age of 65 were injured in a motor vehicle related accident, and over 5,000 elderly people died. Studies show that older drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents and that they are more likely to suffer severe injuries in such crashes.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland issued a statement that “older drivers are some of the safest drivers on the roads, [but] our plan builds upon the NHTSA’s current work to help older people drive as safely and as long as possible.” Among the focus of their efforts, the NHTSA will:

  • Examine vehicle safety and emerging technology such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications that could help reduce the risk of death or injury to older occupants and drivers if a crash does occur
  • Examining the correlation between physical, cognitive and perceptual changes associated with aging and driving behavior to better understand the effects of aging on driving safety
  • Focus on highlighting safe driving behavior among all ages

The NHTSA’s Older Driver Highway Safety Program Guidelines include best practices and countermeasures that can be implemented to ensure the safety of older drivers.

Legal remedies for injured victims

It is important for older drivers and pedestrians to remain mobile. Unfortunately, age catches up with all of us, and on occasion one mistake can mean disastrous consequences. Northern Californians injured in a motor vehicle related crash should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options moving forward, including the possibility for money damages to help pay for medical bills and lost wages.

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