Fatal Pedestrian Accidents: Risk of Pedestrian Death Breaking Records


Fatal Pedestrian Accidents: Risk of Pedestrian Death Breaking Records

Pedestrians are dying in motor vehicle accidents in record numbers today.  This is a big concern.  Another one: how fast the rate of fatal pedestrian accidents is rising.

For details, read the article published in Forbes on March 31, 2017, written by Tanya Mohn, entitled “Largest Spike In Pedestrians Killed Ever Recorded Occurred In 2016, New Estimates Show.”

The rate of pedestrian fatalities is the highest it has been in over 40 years.

How so?  Compare the number of fatal pedestrian accidents during the first six months of 2016 with the same six-month time period in 2015.  You will find the biggest annual increase since 1975, when the experts started compiling these statistics.

For statistical details, read the complete latest research report from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association.

Dangers to Pedestrians

We’ve discussed the dangers to pedestrians who walk, stroll, or jog near roads or highways here in Indiana and Illinois.  People of all ages are in danger of serious injury or death in any pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle.

See:

Pedestrian Accident Deaths Tied to Rising Numbers of Traffic Accidents

Of course, the big question here is why are so many more pedestrians at risk for dying in a motor vehicle accident?  Some are pointing to the increase in traffic accidents in the United States overall.

From the National Safety Council:

“Pedestrians are among our most vulnerable roadway users. They are unprotected and, in most cases, outnumbered. As motor vehicle deaths continue to climb, we must not forget that the risks we are all facing extend to the sidewalks, too. Everyone deserves safe passage, and these numbers are yet another indication that we must do more to keep each other safe.”

Other Causes for Pedestrian Deaths in Motor Vehicle Crashes

Is this surge in pedestrian accident deaths really a byproduct of the rising number of traffic accidents in this country?  Maybe, but it isn’t the only reason.

According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, other things are also at play here.  Things like distractions involving both the driver and the pedestrian.

Phones are a distraction for both those behind the wheel and those on foot. 

See, e.g., our post discussing the dangers of “petextrians” in “Accidents From Distracted Phones in Indiana and Illinois: Deadwalkers and Petextrians.”

Another contributing factor:  more people want to walk.  Culturally, walking is becoming more popular, even trendy. 

It’s socially acceptable for more people to walk to work, for instance.  It’s promoted by doctors to patients of all ages as good exercise.

See, “Health and Fitness Trends You’ll See In 2017” published by the American Council on Exercise in November 2016.  The ACE explains that millennials, particularly those living in urban areas, are at the forefront of the new walking trend.

Balancing the Good of Walking with the Risk of Pedestrian Accident

Of course, walking is a good thing.  No one wants to stop kids from walking to school, or mothers from walking their babies in the park.  Taking the dog for a spin around the neighborhood is a favorite ritual for many a Hoosier household.

However, as walking grows in popularity, the dangers of fatal pedestrian accidents must be considered.

As the Executive Director of the Governors’ Highway Safety Association explains:

“Everyone walks, and we want to encourage that, but at the same time we want to make sure that we all get to our destinations safely.  Unfortunately, this latest data shows that the U.S. is not meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways. Every one of these lives represents a loved one not coming home tonight which is absolutely unacceptable.”

Pedestrian Accidents are Wrongful Death Claims under Personal Injury Law

For those who are victims of fatal pedestrian accidents, their loved ones are left with the aftermath of grief and loss resulting from the tragedy.  Often, pedestrians are children or young adults with so many years of living lost to them.

In these situations, it becomes the task of these grieving loved ones to pursue justice on behalf of the pedestrian.  Wrongful death statutes have been passed by both Indiana and Illinois.  These are laws that control not only which family members are to pursue justice in wrongful death claims but the time periods within which these wrongful death claims must be filed.

The wrongful death statutes of Indiana and Illinois are not the same.  Each state has its own statutory system in place.  See, “10 Things to Know About Wrongful Death in Indiana Accidents.”

In our next post, we will discuss how we can all protect against a fatal pedestrian accident and the ways in which various groups and agencies are working to stop this growing rise in pedestrian death rates.

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Pedestrian accidents are a real danger to those of us living and working in Indiana and Illinois.  Let’s be careful out there!

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