Those tracking the number of accidents and fatalities on the roads here in the U.S. have noted that the number of crashes involving cars, trucks and other vehicles is the same over the last ten years. However, the number of pedestrians killed in the previous ten years is up by more than 50%.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has crunched the numbers. It found that 6,590 pedestrian deaths occurred on U.S. roads, which amounted to 17% of all road deaths. This was a 5% rise in pedestrian fatalities over 2018 and consistent with the rise over the last ten years, which was preceded by a 30-year downturn in fatalities.
Why is this happening?
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of why this rise is occurring. Reasons include:
- Increased use of devices while driving
- Increased use of SUVs, which are larger and less maneuverable
- Intoxication of pedestrians or drivers
- Recently designed roads often prioritized traffic flow over pedestrian safety
Nighttime is particularly deadly
A red flag among the above statistics is that pedestrian deaths at night are up by two-thirds between 2009 and 2018. This means that three-quarters of all pedestrian fatalities now occur at night. The report suggests that road design now needs to address this with more street lighting, flashing crosswalks and pedestrian refuge islands. It also suggested that law enforcement should step up nighttime patrols with high-visibility impaired driving enforcement and better monitor sober drivers’ speed.
Austin could do better
The bar scene here creates many pedestrians sober or intoxicated that walk from place to place. We should applaud them for leaving their cars at home regardless of whether they had a drink, and we certainly should not punish them with the potential of death or severe injury.
Families of pedestrians hit by motor vehicles often have options to seek damages or a wrongful death claim. It can involve the driver behaving recklessly, a municipality responsible for road design flaws or something else. Families with questions can contact a personal injury with experience handling motor vehicle crashes. These legal professionals can provide guidance on the best course of action in resolving the matter or seeking damages.