Will DOT Taking Action Decrease Pedestrian Casualties?

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By accident attorney Michael Ehline – So we now have attention deficit disorder, distracted driving, and yes, a new crisis for a government agency to use to justify its existence. It is called, are you ready for this” “Distracted Walking” ….duh! 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 that are typically much greater and better than a typical worker in the USA. So to the apparent benefits of more regulation reduce societal problems in all cases, 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 used to? 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 may 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! Go figure?

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. Just kidding. In any event, this data goes further to show that Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have the highest percentages of pedestrian vehicle collision deaths than any other states. (See also, the pedestrian accident attorney blog here.)

The percentage of pedestrian deaths due to motor vehicles in Los Angeles is 42 percent, 30 percent in Chicago and 51 percent in New York. According to a report by the U.S. Product Safety Commission there were over 1,500 pedestrians that were treated in emergency rooms during 2011, who were injured while 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 look at population increases, DOT wants to increase “enforcement” and so called “education” (“Here is your ticket, now pay up and don’t be distracted again sir”) 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 simple, 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, which is a coalition of groups who advocate to improve 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 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, with at least 2 out of three of these fatalities occurring at locations other than intersections. The highest rate of pedestrian deaths at approximately 70 percent happens between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. is proven in the complied data.

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 perhaps 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 it appears. (Read More.) So it would be interesting to see how many of these cases are just govt employees running people down and then blaming a cell phone or headphones of the person walking down the street, etc. No, just follow the money.

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 code. 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 own 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 actually 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://losangeles.ehlinelaw.com/pedestrian-attorneys/

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