Why Are Pedestrian Deaths On the Rise?

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The statistics regarding serious pedestrian injuries and deaths are getting more alarming by the day. The numbers have gotten far grimmer for pedestrians in recent years, as they are suffering more severe injuries at the hands of drivers. There are a number of factors to blame for the spike in pedestrian deaths, including larger vehicles, poorly designed roads, and more dangerous drivers.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can fight for you to receive full financial compensation when a driver was to blame for what happened.

In the early 1980s, the number of pedestrian deaths began to steadily decrease. This trend lasted for nearly three decades. Right around 2009, the number of pedestrian deaths started to increase.

While the problem has been present for quite some time, it got considerably worse after 2019.

In that year, there were .9 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 people. By 2022, the fatality rate had increased to 1.04 for every 100,000 pedestrians, an increase of nearly 20%.

The Larger Size of Vehicles Means More Serious Accidents

The size of vehicles has been increasing in the past decade, making pedestrian accidents even more dangerous. Automakers have moved away from manufacturing smaller sedans because they make more money on SUVs and pickup trucks.

In addition, customer tastes have shifted towards larger cars. The larger the size of the vehicle involved in the pedestrian accident, the more serious the injury to the pedestrian.

Larger vehicles also change drivers’ optics. They are located higher above the road, and they may not be able to see pedestrians as well. In larger vehicles, there may also be blind spots in front of the truck, which keeps drivers from being able to see bicyclists, pedestrians, and even crosswalks. The pedestrian is no longer at eye level with the driver.

Further, the larger vehicle front also means that there is more forceful impact to the pedestrian.

They may be struck higher on their bodies, which could lead to more serious injuries. There is a greater chance that the impact could be to the chest, head, or neck. With these larger vehicles, even if the pedestrian survives a crash with one, there is an extremely high chance that they will be left with permanent and severe injuries.

There Is More Traffic and Pedestrians on the Road

The amount of traffic in the Wilmington, NC area has skyrocketed as the area has experienced steady growth in recent years. In fact, the Wilmington area is among the fastest-growing localities in the entire United States, with growth rates approaching nearly 3% each year.

Authorities have tried to implement pedestrian safety plans, but right now, most of it is just talk.

“Vision Wilmington” is an attempt to reduce high accident and fatality rates, but authorities are still in the implementation phase. There have still been very few concrete improvements to make things safer for pedestrians.

Currently, Wilmington has wide and busy local roads that are heavily traveled. Pedestrians are literally taking their lives into their own hands every time they cross the street.

As much as the authorities talk at length about pedestrian safety, roads are simply designed to carry as many cars as possible in the most efficient manner. Pedestrians tend to be an afterthought, no matter how much authorities try to encourage people to walk.

At the same time, some potential drivers may no longer be able to afford a car. Vehicle prices have skyrocketed during this decade. In addition, rising gas prices and car insurance prices have made the cost of ownership of the car more expensive. Some people have had to abandon their cars and walk. Drivers who have priced out of owning a car or are forced to walk in the most dangerous areas.

As a result, Wilmington is known for having poor road design and minimal protections for pedestrians in the lower income parts of the city.

Drivers Are Much Worse and Riskier

As much as the cars themselves and the designs of the road play a factor in the surge in pedestrian deaths, most of the blame can be laid at the feet of drivers. Simply stated, they have gotten far worse in recent years.

Reckless driving

Motorists adopted extremely reckless and poor habits at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have not gotten any better once people returned to the roads. There is an overall diminishing in the amount of respect that drivers show for safety rules and norms in society. Reckless driving has increased, and it is a cause of many pedestrian accidents.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the largest culprits of pedestrian accidents. Motorists will do practically anything else behind the wheel other than pay attention to the road.

The smartphone has given drivers a very powerful tool that competes for their attention.

Sending or reading a text while driving takes the motorist’s eyes off the road for roughly five seconds. Then, it would take the driver another five seconds to refocus their attention on the roadway. In that time, the driver may have traveled hundreds of feet. They may have completely missed a crosswalk or run a stop sign or red light.

At this point, much is up to local authorities. They need to both implement pedestrian safety measures through road design and enforce traffic laws to catch dangerous drivers. Time will tell if authorities are just paying lip service to pedestrian safety or if they will really attempt to improve the situation.

Contact Our Wilmington Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, you could be entitled to substantial financial compensation. Your first step in the legal process is to contact an experienced lawyer to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options. You can schedule a free consultation with Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys by messaging us through our website or by calling us today at 910-405-7751.

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