Personal Injury Lawyer
Pedestrian fatalities reached almost 6,000 people in both 2016 and 2017. After two years of noticeable increases in 2014 and 2015, pedestrian deaths are now at a higher number than seen in the previous 25 years. An experienced personal injury lawyer Phoenix, AZ offers can advise, represent accident victims.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is hopeful that the rate of increase is slowing, but there are still concerns about the number of pedestrian fatalities holding steady at such a high rate.
These high number of pedestrian fatalities are in contrast to decreases in other types of traffic fatalities. GHSA attributes this difference to the increased safety features inside of cars to keep car passengers safer, but they don’t help people on the outside of cars. Vehicle crashes are still just as deadly for pedestrians.
GHSA reports that from 2007 to 2016, pedestrian deaths rose 27 percent. During the same period, fatalities from other types of traffic accidents fell 14 percent. Because of the two rates moving in opposite directions, pedestrian deaths are growing as a percentage of overall motor vehicle fatalities.
The five most deadly states for pedestrians are California, Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona. These states are home to 30 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 43 percent of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017. Eight of the top ten most dangerous cities were in Florida.
There are also concerns of additional hazards for people of color. National Public Radio (NPR) reported that “non-white people are 34.9 percent of the U.S. population, but make up 46.1 percent of pedestrian deaths.” They continued on to say “in certain places, this disparity is especially stark. In North Dakota, Native Americans are 5 percent of the population, but account for nearly 38 percent of pedestrian deaths.”
The report also noted that the elderly, the poor and people without health insurance were also more likely to live in areas that were dangerous for pedestrians.
These high rates have researchers looking further into causes for these pedestrian deaths. Speeding and the failure to yield are the two leading causes of pedestrian deaths. The number three cause is distraction by electronic devices, for example, drivers and pedestrians are prone to looking down at their phones and not paying enough attention to their surroundings.
Another problem is alcohol use by both drivers and pedestrians. According to the GHSA report 33 percent of pedestrians killed had a blood alcohol level above the legal driving limit. It is not illegal to walk under the influence, but it is poses a safety risk.
Additional increased safety risks included walking at night and crossing the street away from an intersection. Seventy-five percent of fatalities occurred in the dark, and in 72 percent of the cases the victim was walking in the street or crossing the street in the middle of the block.
These statistics remind us that we all need to follow safety guidelines:
- Both pedestrians and drivers need to follow all traffic laws.
- Pedestrians and drivers need to put away their electronic devices and keep their eyes and ears aware of their surroundings.
- Pedestrians need to stay on sidewalks when available and cross at intersections.
- Everyone needs to be more careful at night when the reduced visibility makes it harder to see pedestrians.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol while walking and driving. Call a ride to help you arrive safely at home.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into pedestrian accidents and personal injury claims.