Pedestrian fatalities reached a troubling milestone last year, with the highest single-year total in over four decades, as revealed in a recent pedestrian accident safety study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
"This continues the upward trend that the United States has been experiencing for decades and represents the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1981," says the GHSA report.
If you were hit by a car or a loved one died in a fatal pedestrian accident, seeking assistance from an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer is crucial to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Here's what you should know.
Over 7,500 pedestrians died in 2022
Each year, the GHSA conducts a comprehensive study analyzing the number of pedestrian accidents both nationwide and in each state. These studies are built upon accident data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In the most recent study conducted in 2022, it was revealed that pedestrian accidents caused by motorists resulted in 7,508 pedestrian deaths nationwide. This marked the highest pedestrian death toll recorded since 1981.
Alarmingly, the figures for last year were not isolated; pedestrian fatalities have been on an upward trend since 2010, with a concerning 77 percent increase overall. Notably, there was a 19 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2019 and 2022, as reported by the GHSA.
"These are people living their daily lives – commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise – who died suddenly and violently," Jonathan Adkins, chief executive officer of the GHSA, said in a statement published by Forbes.
Texas pedestrian fatalities
Similar to the nationwide trend, pedestrian fatalities in Texas continue to surge year after year. According to the GHSA report, there were 834 pedestrian deaths in Texas last year, representing a 1 percent increase from 2021, during which 826 pedestrian fatalities were recorded.
Notably, Texas witnessed the second-highest pedestrian death toll of any state in the country for 2022, with only California surpassing the grim numbers. The situation in Texas becomes even more alarming when we consider the long-term trend. Over the past decade, pedestrian deaths in the state have soared dramatically. To put the situation in perspective, in 2012, 482 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents in Texas. Between 2012 and 2022, pedestrian fatalities surged by 73 percent, according to the NHTSA.
Why are pedestrian deaths on the rise?
Numerous studies have consistently identified three primary causes of pedestrian accidents, each posing a significant threat to the safety of pedestrians:
According to the GHSA, approximately 19 percent of pedestrian deaths occur due to impaired drivers. Drunk driving remains a dangerous hazard for all road users. Intoxicated drivers have compromised judgment and slower reaction times, making them more likely to fail to notice pedestrians or react in time to prevent collisions.
The GHSA reports that around 8 percent of pedestrian fatalities are caused by speeding drivers. The faster a vehicle travels, the higher the risk of severe injury or fatality when it collides with a pedestrian. Higher speeds reduce the driver's ability to stop in time or maneuver away from pedestrians, significantly increasing the danger to those on foot.
Driver distraction, particularly from activities like texting, consistently contributes to pedestrian accidents. When drivers divert their attention from the road, they may not notice pedestrians crossing streets or walking along sidewalks, leading to avoidable collisions.
What can be done to prevent pedestrian accidents?
The GHSA has put forth several suggestions aimed at reducing the number of pedestrian accidents, including:
- Enhance Street Lighting: Particularly vital for reducing accidents that happen at night, improving street lighting at crosswalks and intersections can significantly enhance pedestrian safety.
- Lower Speed Limits: In areas with a history of high pedestrian accident rates, the GHSA recommends lowering speed limits. Slower speeds give drivers more time to react to potential hazards, reducing the severity of collisions and protecting pedestrians.
- Optimize Street Design: To create safer environments for pedestrians, it is essential to prioritize street design. Ensuring the presence of crosswalks in high-traffic pedestrian areas is crucial, as Forbes reports that 69 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur in locations without crosswalks.
- Pedestrian Safety Education for Drivers: Emphasizing pedestrian safety during driver education courses can enhance driver awareness and attentiveness to the presence of pedestrians. Education initiatives can help drivers understand the importance of yielding to pedestrians, particularly at intersections and crosswalks.
We stand up for injured pedestrians
Claims involving pedestrian accidents often lead to complex legal cases, primarily due to the financial stakes involved. When a driver is responsible for hitting someone with their car, they should be held accountable for the victim's losses. However, obtaining fair and full financial compensation can be a challenging process without the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer.
Attorney John R. Solis and his dedicated legal team are committed to fighting for the compensation accident victims deserve. With a thorough understanding of Texas law and the civil justice system, we are relentless in our pursuit of justice on your behalf.
Take the first step toward obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.