In 2015, 35,200 people were killed in car accidents in the United States. This was a 7.7% increase from 2014 and the worst death toll we’ve seen since 2008. During that same year, we also saw a huge rise in the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths. There were almost 5,400 pedestrian fatalities in 2015 compared to the 4,800 we saw during 2014. This is a 10% jump.
In 2016, the numbers looked even worse. According to the 2016 report, there were almost 6,000 pedestrian deaths during that year. This is an unprecedented jump. This statistic was enough to make news headlines nationwide and even be reported on TV shows like the Today Show.
Why the dramatic jump? Why are pedestrian accidents on the rise? The answer to this question is complicated and contains multiple explanations. Here are some things to consider:
- The overall number of cars on the road increases every year. This largely has to do with population growth. 3.5% more cars were on the road in 2015 than in 2014. This can explain a small increase in any type of traffic accident.
- More people are walking and biking than before. In large cities, especially, more individuals are taking the environment-friendly route of walking or riding a bike instead of driving.
- Distracted driving is at an all-time high. It’s a simple fact—when drivers take their eyes and minds off the road for even a second, a crash may result. Technology is wonderful, but it also tends to distract us more than it should. Other factors contribute to being distracted as well.
- There’s a new concern called ‘distracted walking’. Walking on busy streets, crosswalks, and sidewalks alongside fast-moving vehicles can be dangerous, but when a pedestrian is distracted by their smartphone or a podcast they’re listening to, for example, they can neglect to pay attention to a car swerving their way or a crosswalk signal change. Like distracted driving, this leads to more accidents now than ever.
When the facts are examined, it’s easy to see that both pedestrians and drivers have some work to do. We all need to remember the fact that we’re sharing the streets, crosswalks, and sidewalks with other people on foot and in cars. An accident can happen in a split second. Be prepared, be aware, and don’t lose focus on the fact that it’s up to each of us individually to ensure we all remain safe.
When driving, focus on the road and environment around you and be prepared for pedestrians or cyclists who may appear at a moment’s notice. When walking near busy streets and sidewalks, stay cautious and limit how distracted you are (listening to a podcast is fine, but consider using non-noise-cancelling headphones or turning the volume down so you can still listen for approaching cars, etc.). Whatever your mode of transportation, always, always follow the laws of traffic.
If you or someone you love was injured in a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident in Kentucky, you deserve a fair settlement offer and the ability to fully recover. Contact Lexington personal injury lawyer Todd W. Burris to learn how our law office can ensure you get the compensation you’re entitled to.