April 3, 2019

In the first quarter of 2019, six pedestrians have been fatally injured in traffic accidents in the Lower Mainland. This tragic statistic has prompted calls to increase safety measures to protect pedestrians, particularly the elderly and children. Distracted driving is once again singled out as a factor, along with speed, as significant causes of pedestrian injuries. A second issue raised is the fact that penalties for hitting pedestrians are not sufficiently harsh to act as a deterrent.

When asked for comment, Scott Stanley said that one reason the current laws do not operate as more of a deterrent is that the fatality laws in BC compensate families and victims based on the amount of money the injured pedestrian was generating at the time of the accident. The “economic benefit” model of compensation means that seniors and children are placed at an automatic disadvantage given they are not likely earning an income at the time of an injury. As a result, they and their families are often entitled to little or no financial compensation.

Scott also noted that statistical comparisons between Western Europe and BC may not be entirely reliable because of how our roadways are designed. He pointed out that the way our roads are engineered produces the potential for high-conflict areas, like intersections, which are the frequent site for traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Scott confirmed that over his 25 years of practicing personal injury law, he has definitely noticed an upward trend in distracted driving most likely due to the increased accessibility of cellphones.

The article continued with some useful ideas on how to improve safety for pedestrians and a warning to pedestrians that they must exercise caution at all times. The bottom line, never assume that a driver sees you or will stop for you.

Read the full article: String of pedestrian deaths in the Lower Mainland prompts calls for more safety measures.

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