The Increasing Number of Pedestrians Hit and Killed by Drivers

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The number of pedestrians killed in a motor vehicle accident has climbed dramatically in recent years. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, last year there were more pedestrians killed in Missouri than ever before. Here’s a detailed look at some of the factors that have caused this spike in fatal pedestrian crashes.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the research arm of the AAA motor club, the number of pedestrian deaths increased 53% between 2009 and 2018.

Citing this rise, the organization in January released online the findings of its research, “Examining the Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities in the United States, 2009–2018,” which is a detailed look at these deadly motor vehicle accidents.

Causes of Fatal Pedestrian Car Crashes

The leading causes of fatal pedestrian accidents have been well documented, according to the AAA report.  These include:

·         Speeding drivers

·         Large vehicles, like SUVs

·         Poor roadway lighting

But this research delves into other possible factors that can explain why the number of pedestrians killed in car crashes jumped from 4,109 to 6,283 in just 10 years.

Drunk drivers do not only kill other drivers and their passengers. AAA found that between 2009 and 2018, the number of walkers killed by drivers who were over the legal blood-alcohol content level – legally drunk – increased more than those killed by sober drivers.

The number of walkers killed in urban areas skyrocketed between 2009 and 2018.  Those killed in city settings accounted for 93% of the total increase in total walker deaths in the 10-year period. The majority of these urban deaths – 68% - happened on roads with speed limits of at least 40 mph.

Pedestrians killed in daylight hours increased between 2009 and 2018, but AAA found that fatal pedestrian accidents occurring in darkness were responsible for 87% of the total increase in pedestrian deaths.

These findings echo another report on fatal pedestrian motor vehicle crashes released a year ago. In February 2020, the Governors Highway Safety Association – a consortium of state highway safety officials – released its own accounting of pedestrian deaths, “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State,” based on preliminary data from 2019.

Negligent Actions by Drivers in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

The report relayed reiterated the 53% nationwide increase in pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2018, but noted deaths from all other types of traffic deaths increased only a combined 2%.  The GHSA also cited several factors leading to fatal pedestrian accidents:

·         Speeding drivers

·         Drivers distracted by cell phones and other things

·         Drowsy driving

·         Alcohol impairment

Speeding drivers, distracted drivers, those driving while overly tired, and those under the influence of alcohol are all likely to be even less observant at night, which helps explain why the majority of walkers are hit and killed in the dark.

Most of the leading causes of car-on-car collisions are the same for pedestrian-car accidents. Yet pedestrians obviously don’t enjoy the protections of a motor vehicle, so when hit by an inattentive or otherwise negligent driver, the consequences are often dire.

If you or a family member were walking and were seriously injured when hit by a careless car or truck driver, contact a personal injury lawyer to represent your legal rights to just compensation.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog February 23, 2021


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