The number of pedestrians killed on the nation’s roadways in 2018 was the highest in 28 years, according to a new report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). A KTLA news report states that the increase can be attributed to driver and walker distraction, alcohol and drug impairment and more SUVs on the road. The GHSA uses data reported by states for the first half of 2018 and estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year, up 4 percent from 2017 and 35 percent from 2008.
SUVs Pose More Hazards
The association says more pedestrians are walking to work and they are usually distracted by smartphones. The report also says that America’s big switch from cars to SUVs and light trucks caused more deaths because the taller SUVs tend to strike pedestrians in the head and upper torso increasing the severity of injuries.
A pedestrian is more likely to die in a collision with an SUV than a car, with speeds remaining the same. Even at 20 or 25 mph being hit by an SUV increases the chance of a fatal injury significantly, experts say. The study found the number of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs increased by 50 percent from 2013 to 2017.
The Role of Smartphones
Pedestrian fatalities had been steadily going down for decades until 2009, the year smartphone sales and data use began to spike. Experts say the correlation between these two factors needs more study, but that it’s reasonable to consider it because phone use is increasing year after year. In about half the fatal crashes, either the driver or the pedestrian was impaired by alcohol, with blood alcohol levels of 0.08 grams per deciliter, the study found. The report also says most deaths happen on local roads at night and away from intersections, and it called for safer road crossings.
Safety for Pedestrians
Safety experts say governmental agencies should take another look at pedestrian crossing patterns and consider installing crosswalks and lights even in places where there are no intersections. The GHSA is also calling for law enforcement agencies and safety education campaigns to launch programs to help drivers and pedestrians safely coexist.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be able to hold a number of at-fault parties could be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused. An experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to advocate for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.