For one Indianapolis family, 2017 is off to a somber start.

Police say a female pedestrian died when she was hit by a vehicle in the
city in the early hours of the new year.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, an unidentified
motorist was operating a vehicle south along North College Avenue, just
north of downtown. As the driver approached East 16th Street, shortly
after midnight, the vehicle made contact with a subject on foot.

It is unclear whether the woman, 55, was in a crosswalk at the time of
the accident, although the intersection has crosswalks and pedestrian
signals at all four crossings. Paramedics arrived on scene, but were unable
to save the victim. She was declared dead.

The name of the female victim has not yet been released. No word on where
she was going at that late hour, but our deepest sympathies go out to
the family.

The IMPD has characterized the death as accidental. No foul play, negligence
or illegal activity has been mentioned.

Investigators say the motorist has cooperated with the investigation and
has not yet been charged. A blood sample was obtained, per police protocol.

Of course, alcohol is a risk factor for both drivers and pedestrians, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol is involved
in 49 percent of accidents that involve a pedestrian death, the CDC reports.

Among those, 34 percent of fatal accidents involved a pedestrian with a
blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Meanwhile, 15 percent involved a
driver with blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.

Sadly, the event marks the continuation of an upward trend in pedestrian

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that pedestrian deaths
increased 10 percent in 2015. A reported 2,368 pedestrians died in traffic
crashes between January and June of 2015, up from 2,232 during the same
period in 2014. Experts expect that number to jump even higher as pedestrian
deaths are often under-reported.

The incident is a timely reminder of how vulnerable pedestrians are. Especially
during the darker winter months, pedestrians can be difficult to see.

If you’re traveling on foot, be sure to wear light-colored clothing
that will be more visible in darkened conditions. A reflective safety
vest is also recommended. Some pedestrians even carry a flashlight on
their journeys.

Pedestrians should also take note of traffic signals. Cross only when lighted
signals say “walk” or when a clearly visible crosswalk is
present. Avoid crossing in the middle of the block in favor of a corner
whenever possible. The CDC reports that most fatal pedestrian accidents
happen in urban areas at night at a non-intersection location.

Walk perpendicular to the street, not diagonally. This will help you cross
the street as fast as possible.

As 2017 gets under way, let us resolve as driver to be more respectful
of pedestrians, and as pedestrians to be more responsible for our own actions.

Have You Been Involved In an Accident and Need Help

If you or your loved ones are injured as the result of the poor decisions
of a driver. At Wagner Reese can assist you in pursuing the compensation
you deserve and may need for medical care and to cover a loss of wages
while injured. There is no risk, as we never collect any kind of fee unless
your case is settled or won. Contact us today at (888) 204-8440 for
more information or to schedule a free consultation.