If the news reports are right, it comes down to this: Walk at your own risk. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a report noting that pedestrian deaths have increased 46% since 2009. Most pedestrian deaths occur not at intersections, but on busy, dark roads in suburbs and cities around the country.
The report found that crashes involving pedestrians have become more deadly than ever, are more frequent and are most likely to involve SUVs and higher horsepower vehicles, which leads to more serious personal injuries and fatalities for pedestrians all over the country, including Southern California.
The Institute found a total of 5,987 pedestrians died in 2016 alone, which was 16% of all crash deaths. From 2009-16, pedestrian deaths soared 54% in urban regions, including both suburbs and cities. They also soared 67% on busy through roads or arterials, and 50% at non-intersections.
Pedestrian fatalities also happened 56% more in the dark from 2009 to 2016, when 4,453 died, compared to 1,290 in daylight and 205 at dawn or dusk.
The insurance research group looked at seven years of crash data beginning in 2009. The report found that SUVs were more responsible for pedestrian fatalities than any other vehicle type. They accounted for an 81% increase in one-vehicle / pedestrian fatalities in that period.
Experts at the Institute noted that part of the reason that SUVs are causing more deaths is their design. SUVs usually have a higher front end, and the design is much more vertical than in a typical passenger car. The number of bigger SUVs on the road today with more weight and vertical design are major factors in the number of pedestrian fatalities. Also, there are higher numbers of SUVs in suburban areas, which is probably a major factor in the higher number of fatalities.
Experts say there are steps that could be taken to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths, such as installing beacons activated by pedestrians to alert the driver to stop, more median crossing islands, more sidewalks and curb extensions. They say that good road and sidewalk design should make a priority the safety of all users of the road, including pedestrians. It is possible to make streets safer for pedestrians while still allowing traffic to move smoothly.
Even if a pedestrian accident does not lead to loss of life, serious injury is highly likely, including broken bones, concussion and/or brain trauma, spinal injuries, lacerations and internal organ damage.
Did You Lose a Loved One In a Pedestrian Accident? Talk to an Attorney Now
There are more vehicles on the road, and people are more distracted than ever. If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, our team understands the emotional and financial devastation that you face. Neale & Fhima can help you to obtain compensation from the responsible party for your pain and suffering, funeral expenses, lost income, and more. Please contact our law offices today, serving Los Angeles and Orange counties, for a free consultation.