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Charlotte, NC Sees 6 Pedestrian Deaths in Just One Month

Charlotte, North Carolina, has just seen its sixth pedestrian accident death in one month, according to the Charlotte Observer.

On Monday, October 25th, 62-year-old Daniel Wheeler was struck and killed as he walked on Monroe Road. Wheeler, who worked at a McDonald’s nearby, was a volunteer firefighter and a veteran. When police arrived on the scene, they found the driver of a 2005 Nissan Quest had hit Wheeler and the veteran was pronounced dead the scene.

The preliminary investigation into the accident found that the Nissan’s driver, 54-year-old Grigory Vasil Kolesnik, was going southeast in the left lane when he struck Wheeler, who was crossing mid-block and was not in a crosswalk at the time. Kolesnik was charged with reckless driving and death by vehicle at the misdemeanor level. The detectives determined that ice on Kolesnik’s windshield contributed to the accident as it impaired his vision. Neither speed nor alcohol were found to be factors.

None of the six pedestrians who died in Charlotte over a span of just 30 days were in crosswalks, and three of those victims were over the age of 60.

Pedestrian deaths are surging nationwide

Auto-pedestrian traffic deaths are up across the country. A report covered by NPR found that between 2015 and 2016, pedestrian deaths across the country jumped up by 11 percent. The final total was close to 6,000, which is the highest it has been in more than 20 years and the largest recorded increase in pedestrian deaths ever.

With all the improvements in autonomous safety features that have come out over the last few years, many experts expected pedestrian fatalities to decrease, so this rise is alarming the auto safety community. While some increase was expected because of a six-percent rise in auto fatalities overall, the pedestrian surge outpaced even that trend.

It is worth noting that some drivers do not fully understand some of the newer safety features on cars and end up disabling them, so the full impact of such features on pedestrian safety is not yet clear. Auto safety experts are encouraging car makers to do more to ensure drivers can fully use the newer safety technology on their vehicles.

While distracted driving and walking is a factor, speed is one significant culprit in the explosion of auto-pedestrian deaths. Speed limits are being raised around the country, but the faster a car is moving when it strikes a pedestrian, the higher the chance the pedestrian has of dying. When a person is hit by a vehicle moving at 20 miles per hour, for example, they have around a 10 percent chance of dying. But when you increase the speed to 40 miles per hour, those odds jump to a sobering 80 percent.

Alcohol is another factor in fatal accidents involving pedestrians. Approximately 15 percent of pedestrians killed in auto accidents each year are hit by drunk drivers.

Auto accidents involving pedestrians can have serious consequences for those victims on foot. Speak to an experienced lawyer, like auto-pedestrian or car accident lawyer Denver CO relies on, if you have been hit by a car while walking.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and pedestrian accidents.

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