More people in Minnesota and other states are walking, driving SUVs and using smartphones. These are the same things that could be contributing to more pedestrian fatalities according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. It’s estimated that more than 6,000 people lost their lives while walking in 2018, which is the highest level seen since 1990. This is an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous low of about 4,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.
Most pedestrian accidents occur after dark with nighttime incidents accounting for more than 90 percent of the overall increase in pedestrian deaths. For this reason, the report states the need to educate drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted, drowsy or impaired. Nearly half of all fatal accidents for people on foot involved an alcohol-impaired driver or pedestrian.
With sport utility vehicles, the report notes that SUVs now account for the majority of all auto sales in the U.S. A different report found that SUVs with a higher front-end profile were more likely to claim pedestrian lives. In addition, the number of active smartphones in the U.S. has quintupled between 2010 and 2017, a fact the report emphasizes when discussing smartphone use as a possible reason for the increase in pedestrian fatalities. The report also points out that many cities and states have experienced population increases, which means more people are walking. On a positive note, nearly two dozen states and 10 large cities have seen decreases in pedestrian deaths.
When a negligent driver hits an innocent pedestrian, serious injuries usually result from the impact. An attorney may recommend that an injured pedestrian or their family members consider a personal injury or wrongful death suit. For accident survivors, seeking fair compensation might ease the burden of medical expenses and lost wages.