Motorists must vigilantly keep an eye out for pedestrians when driving. Although virtually any motor vehicle accident has the potential to seriously injure those involved, because pedestrians are not protected by seatbelts, airbags, or the metal frame of an enclosed vehicle, when they are involved in such accidents, their injuries tend to be particularly severe. It is, sadly, not uncommon for pedestrian accidents to result in death.
Unfortunately, it appears the rate of pedestrian accidents in the US has been rising quite significantly in recent years. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2020, more than 6,700 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents throughout the country. This figure represents a 21% increase in the rate of pedestrian deaths when compared to the previous year.
This rate continued to rise by approximately 11.5% in 2021. Preliminary data indicates about 7,485 pedestrians were killed in US accidents last year.
Deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration James Owens has stated “We’ve never seen trends like this, and we feel an urgency… to take action and turn this around as quickly as possible.”
The GHSA report demonstrated just how alarming this trend is by comparing the US to other nations, saying “We are so inured to the dangers of driving — and the death toll it regularly incurs — that many people don’t recognize that the United States is an outlier among comparable countries: People are more than twice as likely to die in an automobile crash here as in Canada or parts of Europe.”
The report went on to explain that high rates of pedestrian deaths in our country are likely due in part to the fact that our nation’s infrastructure encourages car ownership. Compared to similar countries, the US is not designed to be pedestrian-friendly.
Addressing the problem at the community and highway design level will require substantial coordination between government agencies. However, both motorists and pedestrians can also do their part to curb this trend.
For example, there is good reason to believe that one factor contributing to an increase in the rate of pedestrian accidents across the country is the ubiquity of smartphones. When either a driver or a pedestrian is more focused on their phone than they are on their surroundings, accidents are more likely to occur.
Not looking at your phone when driving or walking is a simple step everyone can take to boost pedestrian safety. Of course, it’s also important to obey all rules of the road and familiarize oneself with general pedestrian safety guidelines.
That said, even if you’re cautious, you could nevertheless one day be involved in a pedestrian accident resulting from the negligence of another party. If this has happened to you in Washington State, you can file a claim to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
At Russell & Hill, PLLC, our Spokane pedestrian accident attorneys have significant experience helping victims secure the compensation they were owed after being struck by negligent motorists. Learn more about how we can do the same for you by calling us today at 800-529-0842.