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Pedestrian accidents continue to plague Baltimore area

A popular 20-year-old Towson University student from Gaithersburg was killed in mid-December in a hit-and-run accident in Towson, the latest in many pedestrian injuries and fatalities in the Baltimore area.

Mzimazisi Ncube was struck by a Toyota Tundra or Toyota Sequoia at about 10:30 p.m. while crossing North Charles Street near Ruxton Road, police said. He was a pre-accounting student at Towson and a graduate of Gaithersburg High School.

Maryland 15th in nation for pedestrian deaths

Smart Growth America released a report in 2016 that ranked Maryland 15th in the nation in its "pedestrian danger index" which factors in the total pedestrian deaths from 2005 to 2014 and the annual pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people.

Maryland's 1,053 deaths and 1.79 deaths per 100,000 people put it between Arkansas and Oklahoma. The top five states for pedestrian danger were Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico.

In that same study, the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area placed 55th out of 105 cities studied, with 470 deaths between 2005 and 2014 and 1.71 deaths per 100,000 people. The five most dangerous cities were all in Florida: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Jacksonville and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach.

Who is at fault

Courts look at many elements when determining who is at fault after a car-pedestrian accident. Both parties must have exercised reasonable care.

Pedestrians have to maintain reasonable care. This means they can't ignore "walk/don't walk" signs, dart into traffic and fail to use crosswalks.

Some factors a judge will look at when assessing if a driver used reasonable care is if the driver was speeding, distracted, failed to yield, disobeyed traffic signs, disregarded weather conditions, or was under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.

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