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Why Washington D.C. experiences so many serious pedestrian crashes

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Pedestrian Accidents

downtown Washington DC with capitol in background

Washington D.C. is a very busy metropolitan area. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast. It also sees a constant influx of lawmakers and foreign dignitaries in addition to countless domestic and international tourists.

D.C. is also home to tens of thousands of individuals from an assortment of different backgrounds. All of these parties need to share the road with one another. Traffic crashes occur every day in Washington D.C., and some of them are far worse than others. Pedestrian collisions where vehicles strike individuals are some of the worst crashes possible. In fact, local authorities have long tried to increase awareness about the severity of pedestrian crashes. Why are they such a pressing safety concern?

Traffic is often very heavy in Washington D.C.

The Washington D.C. metropolitan region is notorious for having very intense traffic conditions, including heavy traffic during weekday rush hours and on days with special events. Some people walk places specifically to avoid the risk of the crash. Many others walk because it is a frugal solution for local residents and tourists alike.

Despite the prevalence of pedestrians in Washington D.C., drivers often fail to look for people on foot. Those trying to maneuver through heavy traffic may become irritated and aggressive, which may lead to them making poor choices in traffic. Drivers trying to pass another vehicle or speed through a light before it changes are less likely to monitor their surroundings carefully and could potentially cause a collision.

The high level of pedestrians combined with a high volume of motor vehicles creates a perfect situation for tragic pedestrian crashes to occur. Given that pedestrians do not have a vehicle to protect their body from the force of impact, even low speed collisions can cause life-altering injuries. Additionally, it is possible for a single incident to hurt multiple people.

It is often the driver, not the person walking, who is to blame for a pedestrian accident. Pedestrians struck by unsafe drivers can sometimes seek justice through insurance negotiations or personal injury lawsuits. The driver may have to compensate them for medical expenses, lost wages and even property damage resulting from the crash. Ultimately, holding dangerous drivers accountable can reduce the lasting consequences pedestrians suffer in crashes they did not cause.