The amount of pedestrians who died on U.S. roads back in 2018 reached its highest level since 1990, per a new report.  Specifically, it is estimated that 6,227 individuals died in 2018, which represents an increase of 250 back in 2017, per the Governors Highway Safety Association (the “Association”).  The Association based its estimate on data collected by offices of the state highway safety. United States fatalities involving pedestrians have increased by 41% since 2008 and now represent sixteen percent of all traffic deaths, per the Association.

Why are Individuals Being Struck and Killed By Vehicles?

To start with, Americans love SUVs, pickup trucks, and crossover utility vehicles, which means that pedestrians are struck by heavier, larger, and extremely powerful automobiles.  As a result, pedestrians are likely to sustain serious and often fatal injuries, as noted by the Association. Per their estimates, pedestrian deaths involving SUVs increased by 50% between 2013 and 2017.

Another reason why pedestrian accidents are on the rise is because of the ever-increasing population, which has led to deadly crashes between pedestrians and drivers.  The report issued by the Association also indicates that the use of distracting devices such as smartphones also leads to pedestrian accidents since drivers are not paying attention to the road ahead where pedestrians may be located.

Add in a strong economy with relatively cheap gas prompting more people to drive more miles and it’s a deadly recipe for people walking along roads or crossing streets.

The Association has estimated that five states, including California, Georgia, Arizona and Texas accounted for nearly 50% of the deaths involving pedestrians in the first half of 2018.  The report notes that New Mexico had the highest amount of pedestrian-related deaths per 100,000 citizens in the first half of 2018 while New Hampshire had the lowest pedestrian fatality rate.  

Individuals are jogging and walking more for health-related reasons and also to get around cities where public transportation is readily available to residents.  Although walking is good for one’s health, it can also result in pedestrian-related crashes. These crashes can lead pedestrians to sustain serious injuries or death given that they do not have the same protections that are afforded to motor vehicle drivers.  

Those who are Most at Risk of Being Involved in a Pedestrian-Related Accident

Although any pedestrian is at risk for being struck by a vehicle, there are certain groups of individuals who are more at risk.  Per the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following groups are more at risk than the average person:  

  • Males are more likely to sustain injuries in a pedestrian-related accidents than females.
  • Young adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine as well as teenagers are more likely to sustain injuries in pedestrian-related crashes.
  • As people age, they are more at risk of dying in a pedestrian-related crash. 
  • 34% of pedestrians who succumbed to their injuries had a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. 
  • Children are at a greater risk of being in a fatal pedestrian accident.  One in five pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents involved children who were aged fourteen or younger.

What are the Most Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Vehicle operators must adhere to all traffic laws as well as exercise reasonable care when driving where pedestrians are present.  When drivers do not obey the applicable traffic laws, fatal accidents often occur. The common ways in which drivers cause pedestrian accidents are as follows:

  • Driving while distracted – when drivers are eating, drinking, talking on a cellphone, texting, sending emails, taking photos, or engaged in some other type of distraction when behind the wheel, their eyes and minds are not on driving.  If a pedestrian is in the path of a distracted driver, the results are often fatal.  
  • Driving above the speed limit – driving in excess of the speed limit is not only a violation of the applicable law, it is also considered reckless driving.  Pedestrians who are in the path of a speeding driver are likely to sustain fatal injuries due to the force of the impact.
  • Impaired driving – whenever a driver is impaired, whether through consuming alcohol or drugs, his or her reaction times, general driving skills, and reasoning are impaired.  An intoxicated driver can easily miss a pedestrian who has the right of way, often resulting in a serious, if not fatal accident.  
  • Failure to yield or stop – drivers who do not yield to pedestrians who have the right of way or those who do not stop at a stop sign or intersection can cause a serious pedestrian-related accident, often resulting in life-threatening injuries.
  • Inclement weather – when drivers do not slow down during inclement weather such as rain, snow, fog, or ice, they are more likely to strike a pedestrian due to being unable to slow down or stop on slippery or slick roads.
  • Backing-up crashes – some of the most fatal pedestrian-vehicle accidents can occur at people’s homes as they back up their automobiles and strike a child they cannot see,  Pedestrians are also very likely to be struck by a vehicle that is backing up out of a parking spot in a parking lot.  

When are Pedestrians at Fault in a Pedestrian-Vehicle Accident?

Although drivers can be a cause of a pedestrian-vehicle accident, pedestrians also may be responsible for an accident. Pedestrians that are intoxicated can contribute to or cause their injuries.  Additionally, pedestrians can cause their own injuries by walking while distracted, especially when using their phones to text. These types of accidents are becoming more prevalent in the United States.  This problem is significant enough that the National Safety Council listed cell phone distracted-walking as a category in its report on unintentional deaths and injuries. 

Free Consultation and  Case Review

After an injury or the painful loss of a loved one caused by a tragic pedestrian accident, coping with the legal system, insurance company claims process, and dealing with the other party’s attorney can make a stressful situation even more worrisome and painful for you. It is essential that you speak with a legal advocate who has the experience to protect your valuable legal rights and offer you the assistance you deserve when an accident has taken a toll on your life. 

At Fay Law Group, we are here to hold a liable party accountable for their actions and help our clients gain proven case results in their claims. We have over 50 years of experience assisting clients throughout the Washington, D.C. area successfully triumph in their cases. There are no upfront fees or costs if we are able to represent you or your loved one. We work on a contingency basis, so we do not receive fees or costs unless we help you obtain monetary compensation from a settlement or litigation. Please contact one of our Washington, D.C. pedestrian accident attorneys at (202) 589-1300 to discuss your claim.