Why are pedestrians dying so often?

You’d think that walking is probably safer than driving, but that may not be true.

According to the latest report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, traffic deaths have increased only 2% between 2009 and 2018. Meanwhile, pedestrian fatalities have risen a disturbing 60% in that same time. More pedestrians died in 2019 than in any other year for the last 30 — and increased 5% over 2018 alone. (Keep in mind, that the statistics being reported only include deaths, so there are vastly more people who get injured in pedestrian accidents and manage to survive.)

Why are pedestrian deaths rising? Experts think it has to do with a combination of factors:

  • Until recently, the economy was booming. This put more vehicles on the roads than ever before, which means there were more dangers for pedestrians.
  • Cellular phone use has increased. Ever since the advent of the smartphone, pedestrians and drivers alike have been increasingly distracted, and that leads to serious accidents.
  • Activity trackers have become popular. Those little devices help people stay conscious of their activity levels, and many more people are walking for both leisure and health as a result.
  • Vehicles are bigger than ever. The American love affair with the sports utility vehicle is strong, and those vehicles are heavier — and hit harder — than smaller passenger cars.
  • Online shopping is in vogue. Stores are all online, and people love delivery, but those delivery vehicles are often racing down residential streets. That puts pedestrians at more risk.
  • Cities have lousy infrastructures. Many cities were designed for cars, not walkers. That’s forced many walkers to cut across streets without crosswalks or walk in areas without sidewalks.

Whatever the cause, if you’re a pedestrian who is injured in an accident with a motor vehicle or your loved one was killed while walking or biking, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Find out how to hold a negligent driver responsible for their actions.