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Speed limits matter in pedestrian safety

When vehicles travel above the posted speed limits, they do more than put drivers and vehicular passengers at risk. In fact, the reality is that pedestrians face a higher risk of death if they're impacted.

If you're hit, you could face serious injuries, but not in every circumstance. In fact, the speeds involved in your collision play a major role in injury, with lower speeds potentially leading to nothing more than a few bumps and bruises. Here's what to know.

At 1 to 20 mph, fatal injuries happen around 1.1 percent of the time. Around 19.4 percent of those accidents are incapacitating, and close to half aren't incapacitating. However, when you start to increase the speeds involved, the potential for danger grows. At just 31 to 35 mph, the likelihood of a fatal injury is 12.5 percent, and the risk of an incapacitating injury is 39.3 percent. Essentially, over half of all crashes will result in serious injuries or death. Above 46 mph, the likelihood of death grows rapidly to 36.1 percent with 33.7 percent of crashes likely to lead to incapacitating injuries.

It's important to realize that the possibility of an injury is always present in a crash, but age can help play a role in recovery. Younger pedestrians, on the whole, are better able to resist death and serious injury. Elderly pedestrians are more likely to suffer consequences. In fact, pedestrians ages 65 and older die in around five out of eight crashes with speeds of 45 mph or higher, showing a high propensity for fatal injuries.

The families of those who are killed in pedestrian crashes or the victims who are injured in pedestrian crashes have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. An experienced attorney can provide more information on how to proceed.

Source: U.S.Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Literature Review on Vehicle Travel Speeds and Pedestrian Injuries," accessed June 01, 2018

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