According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, a national nonprofit highway safety organization, the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways in 2018 was the largest annual number of pedestrian fatalities since 1990. Specifically, the data revealed 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents last year, a 4% increase from the previous year, and the highest number of pedestrian traffic fatalities in three decades.
This dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes is consistent with the trend over the last 10 years:
During the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 35 percent (from 4,414 deaths in 2008 to 5,997 deaths in 2017).
The report identifies a number of factors that may contribute to the rise in the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities, including population growth, the amount of time people spend walking, and the increasing shift in vehicle sales away from passenger cars to light trucks and SUVs — with light trucks and SUVs generally causing more severe and catastrophic pedestrian impacts than smaller passenger vehicles.
Distracted Driving Contributes to Increase in Number of Pedestrian Deaths
The report also suggests another possible contributing factor to the rise in pedestrian deaths: the growth in smartphone use over the past decade, which if used while driving serves to significantly distract drivers.
Based on our experience representing injured pedestrians or families of pedestrians tragically killed in motor vehicle crashes, we believe the rise in the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities are directly related to the growth in smartphone use and other forms of distracted driving.
We echo the report’s recommendations for states to continue working with law enforcement partners and state legislators to enact and enforce laws designed to curb unsafe driver behavior, such as speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving.
For a Free Consultation with one of Passen & Powell’s top-rated and experienced attorneys to discuss a case pertaining to distracted driving or other matter involving personal injury or wrongful death, call us at 312-527-4500.