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While New York streets pose a danger to pedestrians, new research reveals that the danger many not be the same for everyone. A study, conducted by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, analyzed crash data from downstate New York along with New Jersey and Connecticut. It was discovered that older pedestrians are at a much greater risk than younger bystanders for fatal injuries stemming from pedestrian traffic accidents. The study came to this conclusion after analyzing crash data from the past 10 years and looking for geographic and demographic based trends. 

What the Study Found

The study found that older pedestrians are at a considerably greater risk than their younger counterparts when going for a walk. In fact, the pedestrian fatality rate for people over 60 years old is 2.5 times higher than for those under 60. The data, taken from 2003 to 2012, revealed that 916 pedestrians aged 60 or older were killed in accidents in downstate New York alone. This means that 38 percent of pedestrian fatalities over that decade were people aged 60 or over, despite the fact that this age group makes up only 17.5 percent of the population. The numbers are even worse for pedestrians ages 75 and older, who account for only 6 percent of the population, but 18 percent of the pedestrian deaths.

The study pointed to two specific reasons why seniors are particularly vulnerable to fatal traffic accidents. First, seniors often suffer from decreased bone density. This means that their bones are more prone to breaking when involved in a traffic accident. Broken bones can often cause other complications like organ damage or infections, and can eventually lead to death. Second, seniors lack the mobility of younger pedestrians. This can make it more difficult to react to changing traffic conditions or to avoid being hit by cars that they did not see coming. In light of these particular issues, the report makes a variety of recommendations for keeping the streets safer for older pedestrians.

Recommended Safety Measures

The safety recommendations for older pedestrians are mainly comprised of "simple roadway improvements." For instance, creating more clearly marked crosswalks would allow cars to see older pedestrians in the road more easily. Similarly, adding time to the walk cycles at crosswalks and widening pedestrian islands would provide more safe spaces for older pedestrians during the crossing. The report's authors stress the importance of these changes in light of the aging population of downstate New York, as over the past 10 years the percentage of residents ages 60 or older has increased by 2.2 percent.

If you or an elderly loved one was recently the victim of a pedestrian traffic accident, reach out to a dedicated New York City traffic accident lawyer today. Our firm's skilled team of professionals is standing by to help you understand your legal options.

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