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The insurance underwriters’ experience is helpful in determining the percentage of automobile accidents for which pedestrians are liable. The National Bureau of Casualty and Surety Underwriters in summarizing for the Hoover Conference on Street and Highway Safety the cause of 2,120 automobile accidents reports 28.3 per cent were due to pedestrians’ liability and 13.9 per cent to motorist’s. The American Mutual Alliance, an organization of mutual insurance companies, in analyzing 1,144 automobile accidents occurring in 39 states indicates accidents arising from the pedestrians’ recklessness or carelessness were equal to those caused by motorists.
The Insurance Committee of the Hoover Conference found in 32.7 per cent of motor accidents a careless or reckless automobile driver was responsible, in 29.3 percent a careless or reckless pedestrian was responsible and in 18.7 per cent both parties were responsible. One of the health and accident insurance companies sent the Insurance Advisory Committee the result of a survey of 400 death claims which it had paid. In 280 of these cases the deaths were due to the negligence of the injured person.
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It will be seen from the following table that the auto-mobile accident death rate is much higher among men than among women. Also that both boys and girls of from five to nine years of age run a greater risk of death than do those of any other age group from one to forty- five years.
Of all motor-vehicle deaths in 1927 about 65 per cent were those of pedestrians; in non-fatal injuries, pedestrians were the victims in about 50 per cent of the cases.
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Although the private passenger car is responsible for a large majority of both fatal and non-fatal motor vehicle accidents it is interesting to note that whereas only 13.9 per cent of the vehicles involved in non-fatal accidents were trucks, the percentage involved in fatal accidents was almost 23. This seems to be a clear indication of more deaths per accident where trucks are involved.
Accidents to pedestrians and to motorists.—Fatal collisions of motor vehicles with pedestrians seem to be increasing at a rate out of all proportion to the rate of increase in the total number of fatal traffic accidents. Should not the education and regulation of pedestrians as well as of drivers be given greater attention than at present?