USA Today online recently reported that pedestrian deaths totaled just under 6,000 in 2017 for the second straight year.
Why are so many pedestrians dying on U.S. roads? The answer points to convincing evidence that pedestrians and drivers “are dangerously distracted.” Even with safety technologies found on cars today like blind spot monitoring systems, forward collision warnings, emergency braking systems, lane departure warnings, and rear view cameras, pedestrians are being killed at record numbers.
Even with the burgeoning technology found in newer model cars, pedestrians are dying on our nation’s roadways and sidewalks, and the number of pedestrians killed in 2018 is set to top the alarming number of pedestrian deaths in 2017.
Who or What is To Blame?
Unlike drunk driving accidents or accidents that occur because one person was clearly at fault, pedestrian deaths have skyrocketed due to an unfortunate collaborative effort on the parts of both drivers and pedestrians. Distracted drivers and distracted walkers are creating a recipe for disaster because they simply cannot seem to wait to use their cell phones once they reach their destination.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about two thirds of drivers are using their cell phones while driving at any given moment. Add in the number of pedestrians using their cell phones while walking, and it’s not surprising that thousands of these people are killed every year.
According to numbers provided by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and printed on Forbes Magazine online, “Pedestrians now account for about 16% of all motor vehicle deaths, compared with 11% just a few years ago.” These new numbers represent the highest proportion of pedestrian deaths in over thirty years.
Another Contributor to Pedestrian Deaths
But cell phone use is not the only common cause of pedestrian deaths in our country. With recreational marijuana being legal in more than a handful of states, research shows that pot use is causing pedestrians (and drivers) to be less aware of their surroundings and less able to react quickly to avoid a collision with a person or a stationary object.
While the GHSA report “emphasized that while there is no confirmed link between the two recent trends <cell phones and legal marijuana> and the spike in pedestrian deaths, it is widely accepted both smartphones and marijuana can impair the attention and judgment necessary to navigate roadways safely behind the wheel and on foot.”
The GHSA reported included some notable figures. The reported number of “smartphones in active use in the U.S. increased 236% from 2010 to 2016 as have the number of cell-phone related emergency room visits.” Also, the seven states and Washington, D.C. that legalized recreational marijuana use between 2012 and 2016 “experienced a collective 16.4% increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first half of 2017, while all other states saw a combined 5.8% decrease.”
It’s difficult to argue numbers that support the claim that pedestrians are being killed in greater numbers largely due to distracted drivers on their cell phones who may also be driving under the influence of marijuana and pedestrians using their cell phones and possibly having marijuana in their system, also.
Legal Help to Navigate Tough Pedestrian Accident Cases
All states have different laws regarding negligence in a pedestrian accident, and these cases are not always open and shut. Many factors must be considered, and if you live in a state with comparative or modified comparative negligence standards, you’ll need a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in complex pedestrian vs. automobile accident cases.
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, please contact attorney Laurie Robbins to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.