Pedestrian fatalities have climbed to nearly 6,000 a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marking a roughly 50 percent increase since 2009.
Why so many pedestrian deaths? Let’s look at some of the main contributors:
Electronics. Smart phones, Bluetooth, and GPS have all made our lives much more convenient, but they come at a cost. When people allow themselves to get distracted by these technologies behind the wheel, they can lose sight of their top priority—road safety. And drivers aren’t the only ones to blame. Pedestrians, too, are more likely to become absorbed by their electronic devices and be unaware of what’s happening around them.
Increase in SUVs. There are more SUVs on the road than ever, and the impact of an SUV can be much more damaging to a pedestrian than that of a normal car. These vehicles’ elevated front ends deliver a harsher impact when they strike pedestrians, making it much less likely that a pedestrian can roll off the vehicle.
More arterial roads. As more and more people move to the cities, more multi-lane, high-speed roadways are needed to give access to freeways. These roads allow drivers to get around quickly, but they don’t always mix well with densely populated areas. People traveling by foot and those getting on and off of buses often become victims of fast-moving cars.
Alcohol. This is not a new problem, but it continues to be a strong factor in pedestrian deaths. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that alcohol use by either drivers or pedestrians is a factor in nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities. Interestingly, it seems to be a more prevalent risk factor for pedestrians than drivers. Nearly 33 percent of these fatalities involved an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for pedestrians compared to the 13 percent of fatalities that involved elevated BAC levels for drivers.
Left-hand turns. Left-hand turns are three times more likely to result in pedestrian injuries as compared to right-hand turns. Drivers are often fixed on the other motorists approaching the intersection and fail to see the people in their path.
Darkness. Most fatal crashes take place at night when drivers have difficulty seeing pedestrians—particularly if there is sparse lighting along roadways or if pedestrians are wearing dark clothes.
As long as there have been vehicles on the road, pedestrians have always faced danger, but new technologies and increased traffic in urban areas aren’t helping the situation. Fortunately, developments like pedestrian detection systems that are being incorporated into some new cars will help offset these increased risks.
In the meantime, stay vigilant when traveling by foot. A moment of distraction could lead to a host of injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, fractured or broken bones, and even death. If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident, make sure to contact an accident injury attorney to help you get the proper medical help and recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Walking in the corner of a street can be dangerous because there are lots of cases involving pedestrian getting hit by a car. Drivers getting distracted, darkness, left-hand turns and drunk driving are all associated with pedestrian’s death. This infographic provides reasons why pedestrian deaths are increasing. If you are a driver, you must avoid them. If you are a pedestrian, you need to be extra careful.