COLUMBIA, MO--(Marketwired - January 27, 2017) - Pedestrians account for 10 percent of all traffic fatalities in Missouri, per the Missouri Department of Transportation. Columbia personal injury law firm Bley & Evans is pleased that the state plans to invest in infrastructure catered to pedestrians, but encourages lawmakers and motorists to go further in their efforts.
"Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable people on our roads," said Mark Evans, attorney and partner at the firm. "It will take a coordinated, statewide effort to make pedestrians safer. That effort begins with improving our pedestrian infrastructure."
Representatives from the MoDOT recently pointed to an "upward trend" of pedestrian fatalities in the state. Seventy-seven percent of pedestrian fatalities occur in the absence of crosswalks and traffic signals, a statistic that Bley & Evans said highlights the need for more of these structures.
"Designated crossing paths, pedestrian traffic signals and well-lit areas are key to providing a safe place for pedestrians to cross the street," said Wally Bley, attorney and partner at the firm. "A large percentage of pedestrian fatalities are older adults, and they usually occur in the dark at locations that are especially dangerous for pedestrians."
From 2012 to 2014, people over the age of 50 accounted for more than one-third of all pedestrian fatalities. People age 66 and over led all other age groups with 15 percent of pedestrian fatalities. Over 70 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2016 occurred at night, and over three-fourths occurred in urban areas.
The firm said that investment in pedestrian-friendly infrastructure is crucial, but that it is only part of the approach needed to reduce these types of traffic fatalities. It said that many of the same factors contributing to the recent nationwide increase in traffic fatalities -- distracted driving, drunk driving and fatigued driving -- are also part of the problem.
"Motorists who are impaired, drowsy or distracted present a risk to everyone on the road, including pedestrians," Evans said. "Our state has to sound the alarm and raise awareness among drivers."
About Bley & Evans
Wally Bley is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and has been a trial lawyer in Missouri for over 35 years. Mark Evans has a career that spans over 25 years, including working at one of the nation's largest defense firms. Find out more about Bley & Evans by visiting their website - http://www.bleyevanslaw.com/.
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