Walking is supposed to be good for you – but it can easily turn deadly, especially in recent years. Pedestrian deaths have been increasing at a steady rate since 2010. Now, 20 people a day lose their lives just by taking a walk somewhere.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has reported that pedestrian deaths reached a 40-year high in 2022, and continues to urge lawmakers to address what it considered to be a crisis in traffic safety. Why are the statistics so dismal? The situation has a lot to do with the following concerns.
Distracted driving has always been an issue, but the smartphone’s popularity (and addictiveness) has made the issue even worse. Far too many drivers can’t keep their hands off their phones and their attention on the road when they’re driving. Others get distracted by in-car technology, conversations and their morning coffee, among other things.
The U.S. has a problem with angry, aggressive drivers who don’t want to slow down for traffic. Unfortunately, the higher the speed, the harder the impact when one of those drivers hits a pedestrian or cyclist.
Urban areas – where many people choose to walk to their destinations – are simply not designed with pedestrians in mind. While different cities have experimented with additional crosswalks foot traffic bridges, red light cameras, pedestrian islands and other measures that are designed to change the situation, improvements are spotty and slow.
SUVs and pickup trucks are hugely popular among all kinds of drivers, and that’s unfortunate for pedestrians. The higher profile and heavier weight of an SUV or a pickup when compared to a compact passenger car translates to more physical damage when they connect with a pedestrian. They also have bigger blindspots that translate to more pedestrian deaths when those vehicles turn “right on red” at intersections.
Ultimately, it pays every pedestrian to be conscious of the dangers they face out there on the streets so that they can try to keep safer – but it’s impossible to eliminate all risks. If you’re a pedestrian who has been injured or a loved one is killed, it can help to learn about your legal options.