Most people are in a rush to get somewhere. Whether it is to make it to work on time or to get to an important appointment, drivers put a lot of focus on getting where their going, and not necessarily the path they are taking to get there.
Whether it was from rushing to get through a light or traveling too fast to be on time, too often, pedestrians pay the price. In recent years the number of pedestrians that have been struck by a vehicle has grown exponentially, making traveling by foot, almost as dangerous as traveling in a car. In 2018, more than 6,000 pedestrians had been killed, which shows an increase in 250 pedestrian deaths since 2017, and over a 51 percent increase since 2009.
A large portion of pedestrian-related accidents, approximately 90 percent, occur at night. This can be due to a number of factors, from poor visibility of pedestrians to a higher increase in dangerous driving conditions such as intoxication and drowsy driving.
One possible cause: higher risk with more SUVs on the road
SUVs are becoming by far one of the most popular vehicles on the road. They are a favorite with drivers, due to their passenger and cargo capacity, as well as their ability to better handle road conditions. Unfortunately, the size and weight of these vehicles can also lead to higher rates of severe injury and death when they are involved in an accident. In fact, when SUVs began to peak on the road in 2013, there was a jump of 50 percent of SUV and pedestrian-related accidents, when there was only an increase of 30 percent in passenger car pedestrian-related accidents.
Another possible reason: simply more pedestrians on the road
Another possible cause of the rise of pedestrian-related fatalities is the fact that there are more and more pedestrians on the streets, especially in more urban centers. The increased cost to buy and insure a car, combined with the need to become more eco-friendly, has led to a significant increase in pedestrians on the road over the past ten years. As the population continues to increase, the number of pedestrians increase as well. The ten states that boast the highest populations have seen an increase of 5 percent in pedestrian fatalities during the first half of 2018.
Most common causes of pedestrian-related accidents
There are many causes that have been linked to pedestrian-related fatalities, but there are common causes that result in the highest rates of these deaths.
- Distracted driving: One of the top causes of pedestrian-related accidents is distracted driving, with cell-phone distraction being one of the top concerns.
- Alcohol use: Alcohol and drug use by the driver can result in poor reaction time and impaired driving skills. When these types of pedestrian-related accidents occur, there is a high rate of death.
- Speeding: Traveling at higher rates of speed can be considered reckless, especially in an area with heavy pedestrian use. Speeding pedestrian accidents also more often result in severe injuries and even death.
- Failing to yield or stop: Failing to heed the right of way to a pedestrian, failing to stop at traffic lights and stop signs, and failing to yield or look before turning, have been attributed to a lot of pedestrian-related accidents.
What cities can due to reduce pedestrian fatalities
Many states have begun to take the increase in pedestrian deaths seriously and have implemented steps to reduce the number of pedestrian-related accidents, especially in higher population areas. Steps that cities can continue to take to reduce these incidents include:
- Reducing speed limits in high foot traffic areas.
- Having more designated crosswalks and pedestrian walking lanes.
- Cracking down on distracted driving.
- Improving lighting for high foot traffic areas.
Steps drivers can take to avoid pedestrian-related accidents
It is not only the responsibility of the city to take steps to reduce the number of pedestrians, but drivers as well. To help reduce the number of fatalities, drivers should:
- Not drive when they are feeling drowsy.
- Watch carefully for pedestrians in high foot traffic areas.
- Use hands-free devices in their car.
Pedestrian accidents can be devastating, both physically and mentally. If you or a loved one has suffered a pedestrian-related accident, seeking out proper legal counsel can help you achieve the results you need to make you whole again. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.