We don’t have to tell anyone that being hit by a car as a pedestrian is a no-win situation. Aside from a handful of superheroes, nobody — or perhaps we should we say, no “body” — can very well survive the impact of a fast moving, two-ton lump of iron and steel. It is because a person on foot is no match for an motor vehicle, not even a relatively light-weight motorcycle — and being struck by a commercial truck is simply unthinkable in our estimation.
As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, we know that the chances of being injured to the point of partial paralysis or long-term disability are quite high when it comes to car-pedestrian collisions. In addition to broken bones and compound fractures, damage to organs and internal bleeding are possible results of these kinds of crashes. For those unfortunate victims, a significant percentage of car-bicycle and truck-pedestrian wrecks result in death.
It’s a fact that nearly three-quarters of fatal pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas like Baltimore and the District of Columbia, but this doesn’t mean that being on-foot in rural region is any less dangerous. The higher speeds in less dense portions of the state can mean the death rate among those hit by a car in more open areas is actually high as well. While rarer than injuries and fatalities suffered by drivers and passenger of motor vehicles, an average of 4,000 pedestrian fatalities each year across this nation is nothing to sneeze at.
One place that is probably more dangerous than any street corner in any large metro area is on the roadside of a high-speed interstate. The sheer volume and speed of passing cars and trucks only amplifies the chances of being injured or killed on one of our many expressways. Many people tend to forget, that once outside of the relative safety of a vehicle passenger compartment, a driver and/or occupants of a motor vehicle are suddenly in the same category as the thousands of men, women and children killed each year on U.S. roadways.
Such was the case a while back when a Good Samaritan was killed as he attempted to help change a flat tire for a motorist by the roadside on Rte 152 in Joppa, MD. According to the news article we ran across, the 54-year-old victim had come to the aid of a driver whose vehicle was disabled by a punctured tire. Based on police reports, the victim had parked his pickup truck in front of the disabled vehicle on the shoulder of northbound 152 just prior to the fatal collision.
Even though the driver of the car with the flat had parked what some people would feel was well off the roadway, at least as far as practicable, the driver of an oncoming Volkswagen apparently lost control of her vehicle and it skidded into the disabled car. Police information indicated that the victim and another man, a 41-year-old Vehicle Recovery Technician with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, were working on the flat tire on the driver-side of the car when the VW hit them.
By the time EMS personnel arrived at the scene of the accident, the victim was already dead from fatal injuries received in the collision. The driver of the disabled vehicle, who was in the back seat of her car at the time of the crash was not injured during the event. The state vehicle technician did receive serious injuries and was taken to R Adams Crowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore; his condition was listed as stable at the time of the news report.
One can only look back on this incident and see it as an object lesson in the things that can and do go wrong in the real world. All the good intentions in the world are not a defense against the unexpected. And we can only recommend caution to those who find themselves in similar situations going forward. While one may not be able to predict the future, being ready for the unexpected might help save a life, even if it’s your own. Please use caution when out on any of our roads.
Pedestrian Killed, MdTA Worker Injured While Changing Tire on Route 152 in Joppa; DaggerPress.com; December 17, 2012