A 71-year-old man standing at a bus stop in Roanoke, Virginia (VA), suffered severe injuries when a car ran off the road and struck him. The pedestrian crash happened in the 3900 block of Brandon Avenue SW at around 7:15 am on July 14, 2017.
Police do not know why the driver of the car lost control of his vehicle. He also went to a hospital for treatment following the wreck, and news reports indicate he may have experienced some type of medical emergency.
Pedestrians always face risks from out-of-control drivers. Traffic safety researchers call incidents like this one across the street from the Brandon Oaks Life Plan Community retirement development in Roanoke a roadway departure. They also consider the problem among the most serious faced by road designers.
A Federal Highway Administration summary of measures engineers and policymakers can take to keep cars and trucks separated from pedestrians and roadside structures includes this alarming statistic: “From 2013 to 2015 an average of 18,275 fatalities resulted from roadway departure, which is 54 percent of all the traffic fatalities in the United States.”
Roanoke police investigators have ruled out the leading causes of roadway departure crashes, which are speeding and impairment by drugs or alcohol. Other explanations could include driver fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, distraction, and mechanical problems with the car’s steering, tires, or brakes. If the driver did indeed have some sort of health problem, that fact would not necessarily release him from blame for causing the wreck.
Taking the wheel while knowing you are too sick or weak to keep your car under control can be considered negligent or reckless behavior, which Virginia statutes define, in part, as driving in a way “as to endanger the life, limb, or property.”
Drivers have high legal duties to maintain control, stay in their lane, and watch out for pedestrians and other vehicles. Failing to meet those duties and causing a collision that leaves other people injured makes a driver liable for paying victims compensation and damages through insurance settlements or civil lawsuit judgments. A person hurt by a negligent or reckless driver can benefit from seeking advice and representation from a Virginia personal injury lawyer who will know how to prove the at-fault driver did not do what was required to prevent injuries.