An ABC news report states that pedestrian accident deaths significantly increased in 2015. In fact, 2015 is expected to see the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian traffic fatalities since national reporting began in 1975, according to a new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The report also found that four states – California, Texas, Florida and New York — accounted for nearly half of all pedestrian accident deaths.
The GHSA took preliminary data from the first six months of 2015 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The agency then compared that to the data from the first six months of 2014. They found an increase of 6 percent in the reported number of fatalities between 2015 and 2014 and then adjusted for the under-reporting, calculating a 10 percent increase for 2015.
What Caused This Increase?
The report cites a number of reasons why pedestrian accident fatalities may have increased considerably in 2015. Here are some of those reasons:
• Pedestrians who are texting as they walk or cross the street.
• Cheaper gas prices, which increases the number of motorists out on the road.
• Increase awareness of healthy living, which means more people are choosing to walk and get active.
• Distracted drivers who are talking on the phone or texting while they drive.
Preventing Pedestrian Deaths
A number of states are taking significant steps to prevent pedestrian fatalities. For example, Georgia is creating awareness campaigns for non-native English speakers. Connecticut is redesigning some of its roadways by increasing the number of roundabouts. In Massachusetts, the Highway Safety Office is providing overtime funds to local police departments to beef up efforts to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is implementing a Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate all traffic accident fatalities.
Here are a few things motorists and pedestrians can do to prevent these tragic accidents:
• Both motorists and pedestrians should focus their attention on the roadway. All distractions, especially cell phones, should be avoided whether you are a driver or a pedestrian.
• Follow the rules of the road. Motorists should stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.
• Speed is considered one of the major contributors to pedestrian accident deaths. Motorists should stick to the posted speed limit and always drive at speeds that are safe for the current traffic conditions.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, please contact an experienced California pedestrian accident attorney to explore your legal rights and options.