A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association looks at the number of people killed while walking during the first six months of the past three years. Overall, from January 1 through June 30, pedestrian fatalities across the nation increased 17% (from 2,951 during the six-month period in 2019 to 3,441 in 2021). Just as troubling: In a decade, pedestrian deaths increased 46% – from 4,457 in 2011 to 6,516 in 2020.
The Dawn of COVID Encouraged Bad Driving Behavior
Everyone has a right to the road – vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Unfortunately, some of these groups are far more vulnerable to injury and fatalities than others.
Roads prioritize fast-moving traffic over slower-moving pedestrians. People are not always easy to see and poor infrastructure like inadequate sidewalks and bad lighting interfere with pedestrian safety. Also a major problem are is behavioral issues behind the wheel, some of which were prompted by COVID:
- Dangerous driving increased at the start of the pandemic. Wide-open highways with far less traffic on them prompted plenty of motorists to travel at unsafe speeds.
- A third of all fatalities in car crashes with pedestrians include speed as a factor. The higher the speed, the lower the chance of survival in a collision.
- Distracted driving and impaired driving, whether from drugs or alcohol, has increased.
- As traffic volumes have returned to more normal levels, two years into the pandemic, many people are sticking to the faster speeds they adopted when the roads were clear.
- Fewer patrols by law enforcement, who cite safety issues for officers as the reason behind the drop, means many people exhibiting unsafe driving skills are not being stopped and ticketed for their behavior.
Ways to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
As the world, hopefully, moves toward an endemic and out of a pandemic, we have all been conditioned to think about how we can protect ourselves, not only in the face of another public health crisis but in personal, everyday choices. Apply this line of thinking to what you do when you’re behind the wheel or walking from place to place.
- Do I need to drive this quickly to get where I’m going?
- Am I driving in an unsafe way that puts others at risk?
- Am I using a smartphone and driving distracted?
- Am I walking while using my smartphone and not paying attention to my surroundings?
- Can I take a safer walking route that minimizes my risk?
People who are walking to get where they’re going are making a healthy choice for themselves and the environment. While some people may be pedestrians by choice because they do not have a vehicle, they are, by default, doing something good. There shouldn’t be inherent danger in this choice.
Pedestrian Accidents Are Preventable
If you have been involved in a car accident or pedestrian accident, get help from the personal injury lawyers at Femminineo Attorneys, PLLC in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.