A man attending to a trailer on the side of the interstate through Henrico County, Virginia (VA), died when a car ran off the road and struck him. The fatal crash happened on I-64 near the Richmond International Airport on the morning of March 23, 2017.
News reports contain few details from State Police investigating the deadly wreck. What is known is that a 66-year-old woman heading east drove onto the right shoulder as the man who died was standing beside his SUV and attached trailer. The woman in the car survived but was taken to a hospital with injuries.
It is unclear whether the woman who hit and killed the stranded motorist will face charges. Virginia law requires drivers approaching anyone standing or working on the side of a highway to slow down and, when doing so can be done safely, change lanes to create a safety buffer. This "move over" law applies to anyone who experiences breakdowns.
Drivers and passengers who leave their vehicles after stopping on a highway shoulder for any reason face significant risks. Crash data analyses performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that even though interstate driving accounts for only about 1 percent of miles traveled by Americans in a given year, nearly 10 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur on interstates.
The AAA Foundation researchers also found that "nearly one-third of the crashes from the sample involved 'unintended pedestrians': people pushing or working on a vehicle, involved in a previous crash, or walking on the shoulder, all situations in which the average motorist could be involved."
Drivers have a legal duty to watch for and act to protect pedestrians at all times in all places. This includes yielding the right of way at lights and crosswalks, as well as staying in travel lanes and off sidewalks, bike paths and shoulders Neglecting that duty and causing injuries or deaths makes a driver responsible for settling insurance claims and paying damages to victims. Consulting with an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney will help the family of the man who died on the shoulder of I-64 near Richmond understand and exercise their legal rights to hold the at-fault driver accountable.