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Virginia county starts campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities

A northern Virginia county recently kicked off a campaign called "Street Smart," aimed at reducing the number of pedestrians and bicycle riders injured or killed in accidents with vehicles. In 2013 alone, 65 of the county's accidents involved pedestrians, and six of those involved fatalities. Another 16 crashes involved bicycle riders, and one of those cyclists died from injuries suffered in the accident.

It is the responsibility of everyone to pay attention while on the roads. Drivers especially need to be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists since they are more vulnerable to injury and death. Pedestrians may be doing everything right by staying in crosswalks and obeying traffic signals, yet they can still become victims of accidents. Drivers should take extra time to double check intersections before proceeding just in case a pedestrian is crossing.

Prince William County is making changes to some of its intersections in the hopes of making them safer for pedestrians. This includes giving pedestrians an extra 12 seconds to cross before traffic wanting to turn left can proceed. This could have saved the life of a Virginia woman who was killed last November as she crossed a street. A vehicle made a left turn and ran into her. The driver of that vehicle failed to make sure that no one was in the intersection.

The woman in that case lost her driver's license for six months and was sentenced to three months' probation for reckless driving. The family of the victim may not be satisfied with the driver receiving such a light sentence for taking the life of their family member. In such a case, the family may exercise its right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver, seeking an award of damages allowed by state law in connection with traffic accident fatalities.

Source: insidenova.com, "'Street Smart' kicks off pedestrian safety campaign in Prince William", Amanda Stewart, April 18, 2014

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