Disturbing Trend: 2016 A Record Year for Pedestrian Deaths
Is distracted walking to blame for the sudden spike in pedestrian fatalities?
The benefits of walking have long been extolled by various public health organizations for decades. As a result, more and more people are choosing to walk to their destination rather than driving. Even those who use public transportation such as the subway system or buses often walk between stops. In some large metropolitan areas, pedestrians are just as common as those in automobiles. Unfortunately, recent statistics highlight a disturbing trend. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 was approximately 6,000. This represents an 11% increase from 2015.
There could be many explanations for this increase. One of the primary potential causes is the increased use of mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets, and other media players. The dangers of distracted driving have received increasing attention over the past few years. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors and numerous deadly accidents are attributed to texting each year. Because distracted driving is so hazardous, many states have enacted laws that make texting or talking on a hand-held phone a primary offense. Likewise, distracted walking appears to be a similar problem. Pedestrians are often more focused on looking down at their mobile device instead of paying attention to what’s ahead. Distractions have become the third leading cause of pedestrian deaths behind only speeding and failure to yield.
However, negligent drivers also contribute to the high rate pedestrian accidents. Speeding is also indisputably a major factor in the number of pedestrian accidents resulting in serious injury and death. A difference in just 20 mph can increase a pedestrian’s likelihood of death by 70%. In response, many large cities have reduced speed limits and added more sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. Drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks also account for a large percentage of preventable accidents.
Alcohol also contributes to many pedestrian accidents. While 15% of fatal pedestrian accidents are caused by a drunk driver, more than one-third of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes are found to be under the influence.
Regardless of the cause of the accident, if you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident you may be able to recover substantial compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. The experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident attorneys at Leonard Legal Group work hard to fully investigate your case and develop a solid legal strategy. To discuss your options during a free initial consultation, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online.