A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2018, which is an increase of 250 people from 2017 and the highest that the number has been since 1990. Louisiana residents should know that from 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian deaths has jumped 51.5 percent and now accounts for 16 percent of all road fatalities.
Ninety percent of the total increase is due to more nighttime crashes, leading the GHSA to request safer road crossings and better education on the dangers of distracted driving, drowsy driving and speeding. Half the fatal pedestrian accidents in 2017 involved alcohol, so the GHSA is calling for greater awareness of this as well.
Most of the pedestrian deaths involved passenger cars, but a growing number involve SUVs. SUV-related pedestrian deaths rose 50 percent from 2013 to 2017 compared to 30 percent for passenger car-related pedestrian deaths. SUVs and pickups account for 60 percent of all new vehicle sales, which accounts for the sharp increase.
Other factors in the rise in fatalities include the growing population in urban areas and the increase in people walking or cycling either to work or for recreation. Smartphones remain perhaps the number one culprit, though. Smartphone sales quintupled from 2010 to 2017.
There are many ways that drivers can become negligent behind the wheel and cause motor vehicle accidents. Fortunately, pedestrians who are injured have the right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage and other losses. This means filing a personal injury claim, which may be hard without legal representation. Victims are encouraged to ask a lawyer for a case evaluation. Doing so may help them learn how much they are eligible for. If retained, an attorney might handle negotiations.