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Increase in pedestrian deaths recorded on Oregon roads in 2014

If preliminary numbers are any indication, 2014 was not a good year for traffic deaths in Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports this week that an initial accounting shows that there were 352 deaths due to traffic accidents last year. That compares with 313 in 2013. The change represents a 13 percent increase. It comes in the wake of what has been a steadily declining death rate over the past 10 years.

An official with the Oregon Department of Transportation says the jump is particularly troubling because increases were reported across a broad spectrum of victims. Specifically, while 52 people were killed in auto-pedestrian accidents in 2013, the initial count for 2014 puts the number at 56 -- an increase of nearly 8 percent.

It's understandable that state officials would be concerned about this data. But at the same time, it perhaps should not be particularly surprising. Experts observe that traffic volumes have increased in recent years. But pedestrian and bicyclist traffic also remains high. That means those more vulnerable populations face a greater risk of being hurt or killed in an accident.

Pedestrians and cyclists are not exempt from regulation under Oregon's vehicle code. They have certain duties they must fulfill for general safety, such as properly using crosswalks and controlled intersection signals. Pedestrians can also be penalized for failing to properly yield the right of way to vehicles or walk along routes they shouldn't.

Still, there is very little a walker can do if motorist negligence causes an accident and leaves the pedestrian injured or dead. Seeking fair and due compensation in instances when wrongful death or injury can be proven is the right of victims and their families. To determine if the circumstances of your case can support such a claim, we invite you to call Schoenfeld & Schoenfeld, P.C.

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