Motor vehicle crashes involving driver fatalities have remained virtually unchanged in recent years. Still, pedestrian deaths have gone up by 50% in the last ten years to match a record from the previous peak from 30 years ago. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there were 6,590 pedestrian fatalities in 2019, 17% of a total of 35,560 road-related deaths.
Louisiana has reduced its total by 16%, going from 76 to 64 in 2019. But it still has an alarmingly high pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 of 3.52, coming in second to New Mexico in this category.
Why so dangerous?
The GHSA’s study also listed several reasons for the increase:
- Distracted driving: While there are now more severe penalties for distracted driving, drivers have found it difficult to put down their devices when driving. This means their eyes are not on the road.
- Intoxication: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a stubborn problem that comprises 16% of all road fatalities.
- SUVs: These increasingly popular vehicles are more challenging to maneuver than the average car, and the taller vehicle profile means that the vehicle’s point of impact is the pedestrian’s body rather than their legs.
- Road design: This is changing, but municipalities and agencies in charge of the road design prioritized traffic flow over safety. Lack of adequate street lights is also an issue, with two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths taking place after dark.
Families forced to take action
There is a huge uptick in pedestrians looking to blow off some steam by exercising or getting out of the home in 2020. The increased number of walkers will likely make this year an even deadlier year than 2019 for pedestrians. Family members may have no choice but to hold negligent drivers or municipalities accountable for causing the death of a loved one. Personal injury attorneys who handle motor vehicle crashes can be a tremendous help to families trying to get compensated for the related medical expenses, lost income by the deceased or pain and suffering endured by the severely injured and their families mourning the loss.