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Pedestrian Traffic Deaths Highest in Nearly Three Decades

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 01, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Even with all the new safety technology available -- from motion sensors and backup cameras to self-driving cars -- 2018 produced the most pedestrian fatalities since 1990; that's almost three decades.

What accounted for this continued rise in pedestrian deaths, and what can you do if you're hit by a car? Here's a look.


According to a preliminary report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads last year -- a four percent increase over last year, and up 35 percent over the last decade. While the number of fatalities decreased in 23 states, 25 other states (and the District of Columbia) saw an increase in fatalities, while two states remained constant. And over a third of all fatalities occurred on local roads.

One reason for the increase is that Americans are driving bigger, heavier, and more powerful vehicles like pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers. The GHSA report indicates pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs jumped by 50 percent between 2013 and 2017, while deaths involving passenger cars only rose 30 percent over the same period.

And while some technology can keep us out of accidents, other innovations are getting us into trouble. "Another possible factor contributing to the recent rise in the overall number of pedestrian fatalities," the report states, "could be the large growth in smartphone use over the past decade, which can be a significant source of distraction for all road users."

The report also indicated that about half of traffic crashes that ended in pedestrian fatalities involved a driver and/or pedestrian impaired by alcohol.

What Now?

When pedestrians are struck by cars, they may recover damages for their injuries based on the driver's (or someone else's) negligence. To establish negligence, legally, in a pedestrian accident, the injured person must prove that the person at fault:

In addition, survivors may file wrongful death claims in the event of a pedestrian fatality, and will also need to prove that the injured person's death was caused by the accident.

If you or someone you know has been hit by a car, contact an experienced car accident attorney today.

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