Pedestrian deaths reach 20 year high

Pedestrians have no defense when they are struck by vehicles. They can suffer serious injuries and die in a crash. The Governors Highway Safety Administration, in fact, recently reported that the number of pedestrian deaths followed a deadly 10-year trend and reached a 30-year high in 2019. These dismal personal injury statistics are attributed to several causes.

According to the GHSA’s recent report, preliminary projections indicate that there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths in this country in 2019. There were 300 more deaths or a 5% increase from 2018.

There was a 53% increase in pedestrian deaths from 2009 to 2018. During that time, there was only a two percent rise in all other traffic fatalities.

Pennsylvania had a 17% drop in traffic deaths for the first six months of 2019. From Jan. to June last year, there were 74 traffic deaths compared to 89 for the same period in 2018. But Pennsylvania had the 10th highest number of pedestrian traffic deaths in the country.

Most of the increases occurred at night. The number of pedestrian deaths increased by 67% percent at night compared to 16% during the day.

The GHSA hold many factors responsible for changes in the number of traffic fatalities. These include economic conditions, increases in population, weather, fuel prices, miles travelled, and an increase in the amount of time pedestrians walk.

Changing drug use, including marijuana decriminalization, was also cited. Warmer weather may also play a role because it encourages walking and is associated with higher alcohol consumption.

The increasing use of light trucks is another factor because larger vehicles cause more severe injuries. The number of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs increased by 81% from 2009 to 2018 compared to 53 percent for passenger vehicles.

The GHSA also recognized the growing use of smartphones over the last 10 years. Use of these devices is a visual and mental distraction for motorists.

Victims of accidents caused by a negligent or reckless driver may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help them pursue their legal rights.