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Why are pedestrians on the highway?

The question posed in the title of this post might seem odd to many. Chances are that if you have driven down any stretch of highway or freeway from League City to El Paso you haven't seen a whole lot of foot traffic.

That would seem to suggest that pedestrian accidents should be rare. But as we observed in a post back in January, fatal collisions involving pedestrians on Texas freeways do happen. It may be that one of the big reasons for this is that no driver ever expects to see a pedestrian on the freeway, so encounters tend to be deadly. And when accidents involving pedestrians on interstates do occur, determining the facts of what happened and understanding the legal implications can be more complicated.

According to at least one tally, more than 10 percent of all the pedestrian deaths recorded in the U.S. happen on interstate highways. So what are the circumstances under which you might expect a pedestrian collision to occur?

  • Attempting to enter or cross: Regardless of the signs that say no pedestrian traffic, some people try to cross or use the interstate as a travel route.
  • Walking after dark: It is reported that most highway pedestrian deaths occur after dark -- more than 90 percent. In some cases it may be a reflection of suicidal behavior. In a lot instances alcohol is a factor.
  • Driver distraction or error: Officials say that if a pedestrian is struck and killed while standing or walking on the shoulder, chances are good that was because of driver distraction of some kind.
  • Dealing with mechanical problems: Some vehicles break down, prompting their drivers to try to push them out of the flow of oncoming traffic. If another driver is in cruise mode rather than paying attention, a crash is more likely.

Regardless of the whys and wherefores, if an accident is the result of another's reckless or negligent action seeking fair and just compensation is a victim's right. By working with an experienced attorney, that right can be protected.

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