Pedestrian Deaths Are At An All-Time High | Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm

Pedestrian Deaths Are At An All-Time High

Jody L. Broaddus

Why The Increase? According to findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report, pedestrian traffic deaths are at a 30-year high. According to the study, there were 6,227 traffic-related pedestrian deaths in 2018. This does not include those who were injured in pedestrian traffic-related accidents. One of the main contributing factors to this increase is distracted driving. People are a lot more distracted now than they were in the past. This should come as no surprise, as we have a lot more to distract us while driving than we did in the past.

Technology is a good thing, it adds a lot of convenience to our lives, but it also brings a lot more distractions to our lives as well. Along with the usual distractions drivers may have had in the past such as passengers or the car stereo, today we have the added distraction of cellular phones, GPS, and other distractions.

The highest rate of increase was in major cities such as Houston and Miami. In total, five states accounted for nearly half of all pedestrian traffic-related deaths. Arizona was in the top five, with Georgia, Texas, Florida, and California making up the rest of the top five list. As expected, these states also showed a significant increase in population which also adds to the rate of increase in pedestrian deaths.

Although population growth, jaywalking, and speeding account for a portion of these deaths, distracted driving, was a major factor. Compounding this problem is that we have a lot more people using public transit systems, bicycles, and walking to get around. This places a lot more people in the direct path of higher-speed vehicles. Our transportation systems are designed for cars, not people. Many people do not use crosswalks as well.

Another factor is the number of larger vehicles on our roadways now. Since 2013, SUV sales have far outpaced car sales. Pedestrians hit by these larger vehicles are much more likely to die than those hit by smaller cars. But by far the largest contributor to pedestrian deaths is distracted driving and walking. Either the driver or the pedestrian is paying more attention to their cell phone, than what is going on around them. There has been a 4000 percent increase in cellular type device use since 2008. People are just far more distracted, and the problem is only getting worse.

Many states are now considering distracted driving laws. Some states such as Rhode Island have seen a 60 percent drop in distracted driving-related deaths after ticketing drivers who were caught driving while they were distracted. This could include anything from eating or putting on makeup to dealing with children in the backseat.

Autonomous (self-driving) cars, lane sensors, and auto-braking will help lower pedestrian deaths, but this technology is still not available on all vehicles, and may still be a decade or more away before all vehicles have this technology. So, for the time being, we need to start paying more attention to driving, and less attention to our phones and other things that can be attributed to distracted driving.

If you have been involved in a pedestrian-related accident, please call the Attorneys For Freedom Law Firm to schedule a free Strategy Session.

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