Crosswalks can be dangerous places to walk. They’re “danger areas” where foot traffic intersects with car and truck traffic and, all too often, these alleged “safe zones” are the scenes of terrible pedestrian accidents in Arkansas. A pedestrian, rightfully so, feels a sense of safety while walking within a crosswalk. My family and I walk in our neighborhood often, and I would say about 40% of the time people will stop when someone is standing on the street, waiting to cross at a crosswalk. The other 60% of the time the cars will zoom right past and expect you to wait. Not exactly how a crosswalk is intended to be used. Some pedestrians understand and follow the rules of the road when it comes to crosswalks, therefore the pedestrian doesn’t think twice that someone else wouldn’t, so the walker will walk within a crosswalk and expect the car to stop. After all, it’s the law. Right? Unfortunately sometimes a person behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle has the mentality that they are bigger and the person will just have to wait for them to pass. This is when terrible accidents happen. In big cities, such as New York or San Francisco, pedestrians walk as soon as the “Walk” light changes, and the vehicles know they are to stop, period.
When a two-ton vehicle hits an unprotected pedestrian—even at slow speeds—the physical damage can be tremendous. Nowhere in Arkansas is that danger more concentrated than in Arkansas’ biggest college town: Fayetteville. There is no protection for the pedestrian, so any contact with a moving vehicle can result in life-changing injuries or death.
An investigation by The Arkansas Traveler uncovered that there have been 33 pedestrians struck by cars on The University of Arkansas’ campus over the course of the last five years alone—three since the beginning of 2017. And while it’s easy to blame “Jay Walking” for collisions in crowded environments like college campuses, in all but eight of those avoidable pedestrian accidents in Arkansas the victims were in crosswalks at the time of the collision.
These shocking statistics point to a clear conclusion: Drivers simply aren’t doing their duty to protect innocent victims on foot.
Pedestrians are Protected Under Arkansas Law
Under Arkansas Code § 27-51-1202 pedestrians are granted Right of Way in crosswalks unless a “Do Not Walk” symbol is lit or flashing. That means that all motorists shall yield to pedestrians in explicit (painted) crosswalks or implied crosswalks at intersections. Unfortunately many people drive completely ignorant of the laws regarding crosswalks.
This ignorance creates extremely dangerous conditions and is often magnified by other automobile violations such as speeding, distracted driving, or driving while under the influence. What it boils down to is this: Every year there are dozens of preventable pedestrian accidents in Arkansas, crashes that could be avoided if drivers slowed down, followed traffic laws, and watched for pedestrians in their pathway.
But what happens to the at-fault drivers?
Often drivers who ignore or violate Arkansas crosswalk laws are simply summonsed for failure to yield. Such punishments result in relatively small fines rather than jail time and do little to compensate victims for their injuries.
But there is help for individuals injured in these types of crosswalk accidents in Arkansas.
What to Do When You’ve Been Hit by a Car in a Crosswalk
Victims who have been injured by careless drivers while crossing the street legally can seek financial compensation from at-fault parties. This means that victims can fight for settlements from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or—if needed—can take the individual to civil court. Any monetary support they’re awarded can dramatically help families during trying physical and emotional recoveries.
If you’ve been struck by a careless driver, contact an experienced Arkansas pedestrian accident attorney today. Call the Pfeifer Law Firm at 501-374-4440 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation right now. The consultation is free, and you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you.