More pedestrians are dying in traffic accidents in the U.S. today, a new report warns. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released its Spotlight on Highway Safety, which found that the number of pedestrian fatalities in this country has increased 19 percent from 2009 to 2014.
The fact that total traffic fatalities decreased by around four percent during this same time period only serves to intensify concerns about pedestrian safety across the country.
Percentages largest in 25 years
The new report found that pedestrian deaths increased by 15 percent in 2014 alone. The last time the percentage of pedestrian fatalities was that high was 25 years prior, in 1990. During the first six months of 2015, the number of pedestrian deaths had risen by six percent, putting 2015 on track with 2014 in terms of the increase.
To compile their statistics, the GHSA looked at data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than half of all the state, a total of 26, saw increases in pedestrian fatalities during 2014 and the first half of 2015. New York was one of the states that saw an increase. In fact, New York, California, Texas and Florida made up 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths across the nation, although the states only made up 33 percent of the total population in the U.S.
New York taking preventative steps
New York is joining other states across the country in taking steps to curb the number of pedestrian deaths in the state. The GHSA cited New York’s pedestrian safety plan, which is a statewide effort to focus on the 20 locations in the state where the highest number of pedestrian fatalities occur. The program, slated to be rolled out this year, will encompass a number of components such as public education, enforcement details and engineering treatments to make it safer for pedestrians to share the road with motor vehicles.
GHSA noted in their report that reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths will likely involve a multifaceted approach that includes public education to make motorists and pedestrians more aware of potential dangers. The association also recommends creating new spaces to better separate pedestrians and motor vehicles and making pedestrians more visible to motor vehicles. This is particularly important at night, when visibility for drivers is greatly reduced.
Visibility is of particular concern at the Community Outreach Center of Rockland County, where members of the Jewish Orthodox community tend to walk in dark clothing. Efforts in that area include distribution of pedestrian safety information as well as reflective sashes walkers can wear at night to make them more visible to cars.
Liability in pedestrian accidents
When a pedestrian is injured in a car accident, the victim or the victim’s family in the tragic event of a fatality must be able to show the driver of the motor vehicle was negligent in some way. If that negligence led to the crash, the driver may be liable for damages to compensate for medical bills, lost wages and non-economic injuries. However, if it is found the pedestrian was negligent in some way, such as crossing a street illegally or walking in an area that is prohibited to pedestrians, the pedestrian may have limited financial recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or someone you love was injured in a pedestrian accident in New York, competent legal representation is essential to ensure your rights are protected.
To learn more about your rights to compensation, contact The Sanders Firm at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to arrange a free consultation with experienced car accident lawyers who boast a long track record of success. Resources
- Governors Highway Safety Association, Spotlight on Highway Safety, https://www.ghsa.org/files/pubs/spotlights/spotlight_ped2015.pdf
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pedestrians, https://www.nhtsa.gov/Pedestrians
- Insurance Journal, Why Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities are on the Rise, https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/03/09/401345.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pedestrian Safety, https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pedestrian_safety/