Back in 2017, there were 5,977 pedestrians killed in traffic incidents across the United States. This was actually a decrease from the 2016 number of 6,080 pedestrian fatalities, but now, it seems that number is back on the rise in an alarming way. Personal injury lawyers have been shocked by this recent change in the statistics, and today, we’re going to take a look at what the numbers say and how pedestrians can stay safe when near the roads.
What The Numbers Reveal
As we mentioned at the onset, traffic fatalities were down for pedestrians in 2017, but immediately started to rise again in 2018 — with 6,283 deaths across the United States. Not only was that a 3% increase over 2017, it was the most pedestrian traffic deaths in the USA since 1990. If that wasn’t enough of a shocker, consider the grim fact that the totals from 2019 are expected to be even higher, rising to a projected 6,590 pedestrian deaths (itself a 5% increase over 2018).
What’s to blame for these increased numbers? There’s speculation abound, and poor driving habits have been cited as a definite issue:
“Dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, and distracted and drowsy driving threaten pedestrians, and alcohol impairment by the driver and/or pedestrian was reported in nearly half of pedestrian fatalities in 2018.”
Another factor that might be playing into the increased number of deaths is the type of vehicles pedestrians are being struck with. Because of the rise in SUV usage, there are more pedestrian traffic incidents involving SUVs on the road. These larger vehicles are more likely to kill a pedestrian, hence a possible explanation for the increased death tolls we’ve seen over the past few years.
Staying Safe On The Roads
Whatever the reasons might be for the increased fatalities, it’s as important as ever to stay safe when you’re a pedestrian out on the roads. It all starts with obeying the rules of the road and walking in a predictable manner that won’t throw motorists off. Whenever possible, use the sidewalks, and keep alert at all times.
If you can avoid it, don’t walk at night, but if you can’t, make sure you’re highly visible and that motorists won’t be surprised by your presence. Finally, just as you would if you were behind the wheel, try to limit (or just outright avoid) alcohol consumption before walking. It impairs not only your physical abilities but your judgment as well.