It is no secret that distracted driving has become more than just a nuisance – it has become a downright danger. That said, most campaigns geared toward putting a stop to distracted driving show vehicle occupants and drivers as the victims. There are few, if any, campaigns that shine light on how distracted driving has impacted the pedestrian population. Findings shared in a recent Wall Street Journal article may be the motivation we need as a society to change that.
According to the report, pedestrian deaths are the highest they have been in nearly 30 years. In 2018, an estimated 6,227 individuals who were on foot died in car crashes. That is the most pedestrian deaths due to car accidents since 1990. Pedestrian fatalities now account for 16% of motor-vehicle crash deaths, up from 1% back in 2008. In the past decade, all other crash fatalities grew less by 5%.
25 states and Washington D.C. reported an increase in pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2018. Five states alone accounted for nearly half of all fatalities. Those states are California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Florida.
As with any type of accident, there are a number of causes of pedestrian accidents. Speeding vehicles, traffic signals that do not work properly, objects obstructing drivers' views, and other factors all contribute to the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities. However, though these factors certainly play a role, experts can agree that there are four main contributing factors — technology, SUVs, nighttime walking, and alcohol.
Technology is likely the number one reason for the increase in pedestrian fatalities. Distracted drivers, or drivers paying more attention to GPS devices mounted on their dashboards than to what is beyond the windshield are hazards to themselves and others. Distracted driving is the number one reason for car accidents today, so it makes sense that it would be the number one reason for pedestrian-involved crashes.
The shift away from cars to SUVs and small trucks may also play a role in the increasing number of pedestrian deaths. In fact, the number of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs grew by 50% in the past decade, compared with just a 30% increase for smaller passenger vehicles.
Additionally, research suggests that the number of fatal pedestrian crashes that occur at night rose by 45% from 2008 to 2017, compared with an 11% increase in the number of daytime pedestrian-car accidents.
Finally, alcohol seemed to play a role in approximately 50% of fatal pedestrian car accidents. Data reveals that of those 50%, either the driver was inebriated, the pedestrian was, or both.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a pedestrian car accident, you likely have a lot of questions, one of which is, how can you hold the responsible party accountable for your losses? At Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker , our Oklahoma pedestrian accident attorneys are prepared to answer your questions and address any concerns you have going forward. For legal advice and guidance at this difficult time in your life, contact our law firm today.