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Pedestrian Deaths at Highest Rate in Nearly 30 Years

Published on March 4th, 2019

pedestrian accident fatalities thurswell lawThe statistics in pedestrian deaths are getting worse, and a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that 2018 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in almost 30 years. There were 6,227 pedestrians killed by a motor vehicle last year, a number that has been steadily rising since 2009. The GHSA blames it on a growing number of pedestrians, SUVs, and unsafe driving behaviors.

More People Are Walking

In the era of Fitbits and reaching your 10,000 steps every day, more people are walking to squeeze in some exercise. There are environmentally conscious people who choose to walk whenever possible to minimize their carbon footprint. More people in major cities like Detroit are taking advantage of public transportation.

Walking is a thing, and it’s not going anywhere. That’s great. However, texting and walking, and talking and walking, means more people in crosswalks and streets are distracted from the threats around them – namely, cars, trucks, and SUVs. Insufficient pedestrian road crossings plus population growth in certain areas all form a web of dangers for pedestrians.

The SUV Angle in Pedestrian Deaths

There are so many SUVs on Michigan roads. While these large vehicles make drivers feel safer and insulated, they are also a massive threat to pedestrians. The number of pedestrian deaths that involved SUVs increased by 50 percent from 2013 to 2017.

The impact from an SUV, with its higher front end and larger size, makes pedestrians twice as likely to die as those struck by a car. SUVs have been determined to be a leading cause of the pedestrian safety crisis in the U.S.

Unsafe Driving Behaviors

The usual suspects of unsafe driving behaviors all contribute to a higher rate of pedestrian deaths:

  • Drunk driving: Driving while intoxicated is a problem that will never disappear. People drink and get behind the wheel of their vehicle believing that they can get to their destination safely and without incident. Being intoxicated means your reflexes, alertness, and awareness are severely affected – and that includes taking note of pedestrians.
  • Distracted driving: Smartphones have changed the world, and they have also altered highway and pedestrian safety. Drivers are distracted by talking, texting, searching, taking selfies, following a navigation app, and more – and these smartphone activities are leading to more pedestrian deaths. All the regular distractions remain too – eating while driving, putting on makeup while driving, changing the music while driving, and more.
  • Drowsy driving: People are tired. We multitask, we don’t get enough sleep, we drive late at night, we take medication. Drowsy driving can happen anytime of day and falling asleep behind the wheel is dangerous for motorists, passengers, and pedestrians. Nearly 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occur after dark, and that’s not only because people are harder to see.
  • Reckless driving: Perhaps people in SUVs think pedestrians should see them coming, but pedestrians still have the right of way. A driver’s reckless behavior like not looking out for pedestrians and ignoring street signs and traffic lights all create a bigger threat for people on foot. Speed, however, is one of the biggest problems. Impact between vehicle and pedestrian is far more likely to be deadly when it happens at a high rate of speed.

Get Help After a Pedestrian Accident in Michigan

If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident or lost a loved one who was hit by a vehicle, contact the auto accident lawyers at Thurswell Law. Our Michigan pedestrian accident lawyers will help you get justice and compensation. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees unless you collect.

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