The past two years have been challenging for auto safety, and even worse for pedestrians. A study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association reports pedestrian fatalities increased 22 percent in the past two years. Based on data from the first six months of 2016, the report projected there were 5,997 pedestrian fatalities in 2016, which is up from 4,910 in 2014.
This increase in pedestrian fatalities comes on the heels of a report from the National Safety Council that traffic fatalities in general increased 14 percent in the past two years, marking the first increase in consecutive years since the 1960s.
Texas and three other states - California, Florida and New York - account for 42 percent of pedestrian deaths in the United States. Using preliminary data for the last six months of 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association report stated Texas had 322 pedestrian deaths last year, an increase of 33 percent over 2015. Thirty-four states had an increase in pedestrian deaths in 2016.
Walking After Dark Is Dangerous
The data reveals significant patterns that are important for motorists and pedestrians alike to be aware of. For starters, it is estimated that more than one-third (34 percent) of the pedestrians killed last year had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .08 or higher, meaning it would have been illegal for them to drive.
While it is smart to not get behind the wheel if you have had too much to drink, it's equally important to be aware that one's awareness is diminished while walking with a high BAC as well. Reaction time will be reduced and a pedestrian with high BAC may fail to take necessary precautions to remain safe.
That said, there are plenty of accidents in which a pedestrian is killed or seriously injured by a motorist in which alcohol is not a factor. Darkness plays a role in many pedestrian accidents. Data shows 74 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred after dark.
In addition, while most pedestrian deaths in the past occurred in urban areas, deaths in isolated areas increased substantially in the past two years, while urban deaths increased only 1 percent. More than 80 percent of pedestrian deaths happen in travel lanes away from intersections or on shoulders or driveways.
Distracted Driving Persists
Unfortunately, pedestrians must always be mindful of the higher number of distracted drivers on the road, the report states. The National Safety Council cited that as a key reason for the increase in traffic deaths in general.
The Burress Snellings Law Firm has represented many families who have had loved ones seriously injured or killed in pedestrian accidents due to someone else's negligence. While the families focus on grieving and/or the injured victims concentrate on healing, The Burress Snellings Law Firm PLLC is here protecting our clients' financial interests and helping them understand their legal rights. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys represent injured victims and their families throughout Texas and across the United States.