Hundreds of years ago, no one had to worry about pedestrian death statistics. That's because walking is the most natural of all human activities. However, in the modern world, Minnesota residents face the threat of death and disabling injuries every time they take to the streets on foot. In fact, pedestrian deaths caused by vehicle accidents are currently higher than they've been in decades in the United States.
A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that 2017 will likely report 6,000 pedestrian versus vehicle accident deaths, which will be the second year in a row this figure has been that high. Furthermore, it's the most pedestrian deaths reported since 1990.
Are smartphones to blame for pedestrian deaths?
Experts postulate that the rising use of distracting smartphones may be to blame for the nation-wide increase in pedestrian fatalities, and one state's extremely low pedestrian death numbers could be proof. In the first half of 2017, the state of Hawaii reported only one pedestrian death. There, police enforce laws designed to curb cellphone distractions by ticketing pedestrians who are walking in crosswalks while using their cellphones and issuing citations to drivers who break cellphone laws.
In addition to smartphones, the Governors Highway Safety Association also questions whether legalized marijuana could be contributing to more pedestrian accident deaths by resulting in more drivers who are intoxicated due to pot. However, other statistics point to an increase in drunk driving and speeding as contributing factors.
Pedestrians: Be careful on the road
Considering that the roads are more dangerous than ever for pedestrians at this time, Minnesota pedestrians may want to take every precaution they can. Always look both ways, and look again before crossing any road and only cross at designated crosswalks. Also, only walk on the sidewalk, and -- if you absolutely must walk along the road -- walk on the left side of the road so that you are facing oncoming traffic. Finally, don't walk while using a smartphone or cellphone and never use headphones while navigating traffic.
If you or a loved one suffered injury -- or if your loved one died -- as a result of a pedestrian versus car crash, you might want to investigate your legal rights and options. In some cases, Minnesota personal injury law could be on your side.