According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, an average of 17 pedestrians were killed each day in traffic crashes – the deadliest year on record since 1990. Pedestrian deaths climbed over 3 percent last year with over 6,000 fatalities and many more injuries in 2018 alone.
Some theorize the increase in pedestrian deaths may be related to the popularity of SUVs and trucks that tend to make the occupants safer, but put pedestrians at higher risk for injury. Pedestrians are not only less visible to drivers of high profile vehicles, but physically vulnerable in collisions when considering the height and weight of the vehicle involved.
Researchers also point to distracted driving as a probable cause, with about 10 percent of fatal crashes overall involving a distracted driver. The fact that just about everyone is on their phone at least part of the time while driving is a dangerous combination especially when pedestrians are around.
Fortunately the number of drunk driving involved fatalities is dropping according to the report, however, impaired driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to play a role in pedestrian deaths. Thirty percent of all fatal traffic accidents last year involved a drunk driver, pedestrians among the victims.
Not surprisingly, pedestrian injuries occur more frequently in urban areas where cars and pedestrians mix. People everywhere are choosing to walk more, whether it be out of necessity or convenience, for personal health, or just with a nod to the environment. Tragically, many traffic fatalities involve people between the ages of 15 and 24, a demographic that is largely pedestrian, many of whom live in cities such as Des Moines.
With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, many are encouraging their city leaders to make walking safer by lowering speed limits, improving infrastructure and traffic signal efforts, and creating pedestrian-only public spaces. Continued efforts to clamp down on distracted and impaired driving will also help mitigate the risk. However, the onus is on every driver to make responsible choices to keep pedestrians safe. Driving for conditions, whether that means slowing down in a school zone or in inclement weather; limiting distractions such as a cell phone; or setting up alternative transportation instead of driving impaired are things that all drivers can do to make pedestrians safer.
The Des Moines based personal injury attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze, PLC, have been helping pedestrian accident victims since 1977. Contact our Des Moines pedestrian accident and car accident attorneys at 515 -244-1473 to speak with an attorney right away.