The latest newsletter from Oregon’s Department of Transportation offers a timely reminder now that spring is here: “Warmer weather and longer days naturally bring out more walkers,” it notes. “It is each individual’s responsibility to be safe – on foot or behind the wheel.”
The agency offers a dual reminder. Drivers should be aware that more people will be walking (and, though the release does not mention it, biking) with the arrival of spring and summer. That fact requires special vigilance on the part of drivers. Pedestrians, however, also need to be reminded responsibility is, so to speak, a two-way street. Situational awareness can save your life.
According to the ODOT “as of April 11, 20 pedestrians have died in vehicle related crashes” across Oregon. That number represents a 25% increase in Oregon pedestrian car crashes compared to the same time period last year. The statistic is particularly striking since, as the newsletter notes, “overall Oregon is down slightly in vehicle-related fatalities for 2012 (74 deaths so far compared to 76 at this time in 2011).”
Portland and other Oregon car accidents are most tragic when they are most preventable. The ODOT newsletter is a timely reminder that the saddest circumstance of many Portland car crashes, especially those involving bicyclists and pedestrians is the ease with which they might have been avoided. This is especially the case when drivers are impaired, be it because they are Oregon drunk driving, or Oregon distracted driving.
From a Portland pedestrian injury attorney’s perspective, awareness and avoiding tragedy is by far the best way to proceed. It is reassuring to know that the courts are here to offer everyone, rich and poor alike, justice. The better approach, however, is for all of us to be sufficiently aware of our surroundings – whether we are behind the wheel, on foot or on a bike – to ensure that accidents do not happen in the first place.