Pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents are on the rise across the United States. According to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrian deaths increased 10% from 2014 – 2015, the largest increase in 40 years.
In fact, there were 2,368 pedestrian deaths in the first 6 months of 2015. This is up from 2,232 during the first half of the previous year. In accordance with those statistics, pedestrian deaths accounted for 15% of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2015, up from 13% in 2013.
California, along with Texas, New York, and Florida accounted for 42% of all pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2015.
Here are some the most telling statistics regarding pedestrian-related traffic accidents from the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Almost 5,000 pedestrian deaths occur due to traffic accidents every year.
- There is approximately one traffic-related death every 2 hours.
- A pedestrian is 1.5 times more likely than an occupant of a motor vehicle to be killed in a traffic accident.
- Approximately 20% of pedestrians who lose their lives in traffic accidents are killed by hit-and-run drivers.
So which pedestrians are most at risk?
You are more likely to be killed in a pedestrian-related traffic accident if you are:
- A male––men account for 69% of all pedestrians killed in traffic accidents.
- A person over 40 years of age––the average age of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents is 46, and pedestrians over 65 years of age account for 19% of all pedestrian fatalities.
- A child under 14 years of age––20% of children under the age of 14 who are killed in traffic accidents are pedestrians.
Where are pedestrians most likely to be killed?
You are most likely to lose your life in a pedestrian-related traffic accident in the following locations:
- Urban areas––73% of all pedestrian deaths occur in urban settings.
- Non-intersections, where 79% of pedestrian deaths occur.
Is the time of day a factor?
Time of the day is a huge factor in pedestrian deaths across the nation. You have a greater chance of being hit by a car and killed when it is dark. 72% of all pedestrian deaths occur during the nighttime between 6pm and midnight on weekdays and between 6pm and 3am on the weekends.
How about weather conditions?
88% of pedestrian-related deaths occur during normal weather conditions. This suggests that weather conditions (or rather, bad weather conditions) do not contribute to the likelihood of you being killed in a pedestrian related accident on U.S roads.
So, what are the biggest contributing factors to pedestrian deaths in the United States?
Three of the biggest factors contributing to fatal pedestrian accidents in the U.S. are:
- Vehicle Speed
- Distracted Drivers
Vehicle Speed: Higher vehicle speeds increase the likelihood and severity of pedestrian-related accidents. At higher speeds, drivers are less likely to notice you crossing or walking along the road and are even less likely to be able to stop before hitting you.
Alcohol: This remains a large contributor to the total number of fatal traffic accidents (of all types) across the country. According to the latest NHTSA statistics, alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the driver is a factor in 49% of fatal pedestrian accidents in the U.S.
Distracted Driving: Arguably the biggest factor contributing to the rise in the occurrence of distracted driving accidents, including those involving pedestrians, is the ever-increasing use of cell phones.
According to a study done by Carnegie Mellon, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by an average of 37%. Furthermore, the study shows that a driver who is texting is as much impaired as one driving at the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08%.
This leads many to refer to drivers who are distracted by their cell phones as the “new drunk drivers” and the main cause of the increased number of pedestrians killed by distracted drivers.
Have You Lost a Loved One to a Pedestrian Accident? Contact a California Wrongful Death Attorney
At our law firm, we recognize and understand the trauma that families go through when a loved one is lost in a pedestrian related accident. If your loved one was hit and killed by a motor vehicle, we can help. Contact a California Pedestrian Wrongful Death Attorney now for a free and confidential consultation. You can rest assured that we will be with you and your family every step of the way.
Those who would like to take advantage of a free consultation from a Timothy J. Ryan & Associates attorney can do so by calling (800) 838-6644 today.