Pedestrian and Bicyclist Deaths Reach New High

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 pedestrian deaths accounted for 16% of all traffic deaths in the United States. Pedestrian deaths rose by 35% from 2008 to 2017; between 2017 and 2018, the death rate rose by another 6%, approaching a three-decade high.

Based on data from state highway safety offices, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in 2018 alone, a significant increase from 2017. Many of these deaths occurred at night, with nighttime pedestrian fatalities rising by 45% from 2008 to 2017, compared to an 11% rise in daytime pedestrian fatalities.

The increase in pedestrian deaths can be attributed to a number of factors, including:

• Alcohol use

• Speeding

• Lower gas prices, which encourage people to drive more

• Unsafe infrastructure

• An increased in the number of Americans walking to work

• Population growth, leading to more deadly encounters between drivers and pedestrians

• An increased use of smartphones while driving, distracting both the drivers and the pedestrians

• An increase of SUVs and trucks on the road

Since SUVs and trucks have a significantly larger size and weight compared to cars, they are significantly more likely to kill pedestrians or cause life-threatening injuries. The number of SUVs involved in the death of a pedestrian has risen by 50% since 2013.

A study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicated that Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas accounted for nearly half of the pedestrian deaths in 2018. New Mexico had the highest pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 residents. Florida had the highest overall number of pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2017, with a total of 5,433 deaths.

In order to try to combat the problem, some cities have implemented “Vision Zero” plans modeled after a successful Swedish initiative by the same name. According to New York’s transportation commissioner, the city has redesigned dangerous streets, reduced speed limits, and given pedestrians a head start over vehicles when crossing the street in an attempt to eradicate the high rate of pedestrian deaths. These implementations came after pedestrian deaths accounted for 46% of New York’s traffic deaths in 2017.

An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Phoenix, AZ should be consulted if serious injuries occur as a result of a motor vehicle crash, the attorney will investigate fault, applicable insurance coverages, and evaluate claims for injuries and damages. Litigation may be necessary to obtain a fair resolution of the damages claims. There should be no fees unless a settlement is obtained.

Thanks to the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into personal injury claims and pedestrian and bike accidents.