Wellborn Paluch, LLP Blog

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pedestrian Deaths Increased 10 percent in 2015

What are the reasons for the surge in pedestrian deaths over the past year?

A preliminary study of traffic fatalities reports that pedestrian deaths surged an estimated 10 percent during 2015. Richard Retting, co-author of the report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, states that "This is really sobering news. Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country." The data recently released is based on statistics from the first half of 2015, using projective analysis techniques for the second half of the year. If it is found that the trend predicted continued for the entire year, 2015 will show the greatest increase since 1975 when the current federal recording system was put in place. Pedestrian fatalities, which have been on the rise since 2005, now account for 15 percent of all traffic deaths.

Possible Reasons for Higher Pedestrian Mortality Rates

There are many reasons that experts believe contribute to the frightening increase in pedestrian mortality. These include:

  • Warmer weather coupled with health consciousness, resulting in more walking generally
  • Increased use of cell phones for talking or texting by drivers and pedestrians alike
  • Intoxication of drivers (15 percent) and of pedestrians (33 percent)
  • Design of vehicles, especially buses, with large blind spots that obstruct drivers' vision

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents city bus drivers, estimates that approximately one pedestrian is killed every 10 days as a result of poorly designed city buses. Apparently the wide "A" pillars, connecting the windshield to the driver's side window, frequently combine with poorly placed side mirrors to interrupt drivers' views of intersections. Changes to remove these hazards have been made on most European buses already, but the U.S. lags dangerously behind.

Where is the problem most acute?

Forty-two percent of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. occurred in the four most populated states in the country -- California, Florida, Texas, and New York. Otherwise, states with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents were scattered geographically as follows:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona
  3. Delaware
  4. South Carolina
  5. Mississippi
  6. Oregon and The District of Columbia (tied)
  7. New Mexico

Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.

If you have suffered a pedestrian injury or someone you love has suffered a wrongful death, you should contact a highly competent personal attorney to make sure that you and your family receive the necessary and deserved compensation.

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