The U.S. Department of Transportation has deemed October National Pedestrian Safety Month. A review of pedestrian fatalities in recent years reinforces the importance of this awareness effort. The number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents is markedly on the rise.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,100 pedestrians were killed in 2020, a nearly 4% increase over the year prior. In 2020, one pedestrian was hit and killed every 81 minutes.
Almost a quarter of all pedestrians who died in a traffic crash in 2020 were killed by a hit-and-run driver.
The NHTSA report shows that over half of the pedestrian fatalities occurred at night, between 6 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Drivers should be more alert for pedestrians when it is dark. The impending end of daylight savings time will soon bring shorter days and increasing dangers from inattentive drivers at night.
Rise in Missouri Pedestrian Deaths
A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a coalition of state traffic safety officials, reveals the number of Missouri pedestrians struck and killed increased 9% between 2019 and 2020 (“Pedestrian Fatalities by State”).
GHSA projects that nearly 7,500 pedestrians died in 2021, an increase of 11.5% over 2020. If that projection proves true, it will be the largest number of pedestrian deaths in the last 40 years.
The increase in pedestrian deaths goes back many years. According to GHSA, the number of pedestrians killed jumped 54% between 2010 and 2020. During that same time, all other traffic-related deaths rose 13%
One contributing factor to this increase is drinking and driving. In a report on 2020 pedestrian deaths the NHTSA released in May (“Pedestrians”), 16% of the car crashes that killed pedestrians in 2020 involved a drunk driver.
Speeding Drivers and Pedestrian Deaths
A focus of National Pedestrian Safety Month is speeding drivers. The Department of Transportation says the speed of drivers is a concern when it comes to reducing pedestrian deaths. GHSA reports that the percentage of pedestrian deaths in 2020 in which speeding was a factor spiked 20% over 2019. This increase was similar for both interstates and local roads.
GHSA notes that, since pedestrian access for highways is limited, a good portion of interstate deaths that were speed-related included those standing near a disabled car, police officers helping others, and construction workers.
Even more troubling, the percentage of deaths among pedestrians under the age of 15 in speed-related crashes doubled since 2018, according to GHSA.
To help reduce pedestrian deaths, the GHSA report recommends focusing on unsafe drivers.
Drivers who speed or who are impaired by alcohol are a danger to others, including pedestrians. When their careless actions cause fatal crashes, their victims deserve justice.
If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed by a motorist, speak with a personal injury attorney about pursuing just compensation from those responsible.
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 October 27, 2022.