Why are pedestrian deaths at a 40-year high?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Pedestrian Accidents |

You’re not immune from a car accident just because you aren’t in a car. In fact, pedestrian deaths due to traffic incidents have reached a 40-year high in the United States.

While there are regional differences in exactly how dangerous it is to be a pedestrian these days (with Southern states seeing the most deaths), everybody agrees: There are some big problems when it comes to pedestrian safety.

It’s been an uphill battle, and pedestrians keep losing

There’s no question that one of the major factors behind the statistics is the fact that U.S. roads are not well-designed for anything but vehicles. No matter where someone lives, they likely have to deal with big gaps between crosswalks, poor signage, missing sidewalks, an absence of bike lanes for cyclists and drivers who seem to think they shouldn’t have to share the road.

Lawmakers keep trying to address the issue by adding roundabouts, service lanes, sidewalk “bulb-outs” and red light cameras – all designed to calm traffic down and give pedestrians more space – but the death toll still keeps going up. There are likely several reasons for this:

  • People are driving more aggressively. Starting in 2020, police departments all over the nation started reporting a rise in “super speeders,” or drivers going well in excess of the posted speed limits. Impacts at higher speeds are naturally more deadly.
  • Americans have a love affair with big vehicles. SUVs and full-size pickups are the norm on U.S. roads, not the exception. Their larger profile and heavier weights can make even a low-speed accident with a pedestrian more severe. 
  • Drivers are more distracted than ever. It’s no coincidence that smartphones erupted on the scene about the same time pedestrian deaths started to rise. Technology is both addictive and distracting, and many drivers simply do not know how to keep their hands, eyes and minds off their phones.

If you were injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, you could be looking at months or years of surgeries, healing time and physical therapy. It’s only wise to protect your legal interests.