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Randy Appleton
Randy Appleton
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North Carolina Pedestrian Safety Program Wins National Award

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A pedestrian and bicyclist safety program run by the North Carolina Department of Transportation appears to be reducing the number of car accidents and has received an achievement award from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. 

The program is called Watch For Me NC, and it received the national association’s Peter O’Rourke Special Achievement Award. It has reportedly reduced average crash rates for cyclists and pedestrians by 5%, according to a pilot program run by NCDOT.

The program was initiated in 2012 to provide education to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on road safety. It also encourages law enforcement to crack down on any traffic violations it sees related to biker and pedestrian safety.

In 2017, the program reached its highest level of participation, with 32 communities across the state involved. The towns and cities received NCDOT training, support, paid advertising and educational materials to increase public awareness about how to ensure cyclists and pedestrians stay safe around motor vehicles.

Our View

Everyone in America is a pedestrian sooner or later. Sadly, pedestrians were one of the few groups of people who use public roads to see an increase in the number of fatalities in 2015, with a total of 5376 deaths.

On average, a pedestrian died every two hours and was injured every seven minutes in traffic accidents that year. Fourteen percent of all traffic deaths and 3% of those hurt in crashes were bikers or pedestrians. 

We are glad that there are efforts in North Carolina as well as nationally to increase awareness about the dangers to bikers and pedestrians. With these types of programs, our personal injury attorneys in North Carolina are hopeful that we will see fewer personal injury cases involving pedestrians.

Our personal injury attorneys have worked on cases where drivers ignored pedestrians entering crosswalks in Virginia, leading to serious personal injury. For example, we had a case in Virginia Beach where our clients were crossing in a crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue. They had crossed the southbound lanes normally when they were hit in the northbound lanes by the defendant. Both of our clients suffered broken legs.

The first client’s fractures healed without major problems. But the other client suffered a complication where several surgeries were required, which led to much higher medical costs.

One of the reasons that this case was successfully settled for $545,000 was that the plaintiffs retained a personal injury attorney quickly. Our attorney had the entire accident scene photographed and analyzed within a few weeks of the crash.