Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Why are Pedestrian Deaths Rising?

Why are pedestrian deaths rising in the United States? What is being done to protect pedestrians from serious injury and death in motor vehicle accidents? As cars, trucks, and SUVs share increasingly congested road space with pedestrians and cyclists, the risks of a pedestrian accident are rising. The reality is that little is being done to stem the rising tide of deaths.

In 2018, 6,227 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents. This was a 51% increase over the 4,109 who died in 2009. From 1990 to 2009, the number of fatalities steadily declined. First to 5,489 in 1984, then down to 4,763 in 2000, and finally to the 30-year low of 4,109 in 2009. From 2009 to 2019, the numbers have risen at an increasingly sharp rate with no end to the rise in sight. In 2016 and 2017, pedestrian accident deaths accounted for 16% of all traffic fatalities. This rate has risen steadily from the 12% recorded in 2008.

Approximately 75% of pedestrian deaths occur after dark. From 2008 to 2017, the number of nighttime fatalities increased by 45%. By comparison, daytime fatalities rose by only 11% over this same period. Approximately 60% of fatalities occur on local streets or state highways. These deaths highlight the importance of installing/improving bike lanes and enhancing lighting along these dangerous routes.

In fact, state governments and federal agencies including the Federal Highway Administration are just starting to attempt to stem the rising tide of pedestrian fatalities. Efforts include stricter enforcement of traffic laws, reengineering dangerous intersections and building new bike baths and bike lanes. State and city officials, including those in Kansas, are also increasing education programs in their communities and developing new emergency response procedures that are designed to provide expedited critical aid to injured pedestrians.

Funding for these programs comes from a wide range of sources including the FAST Act passed in 2015 which allocated $70 million each year through 2020 to implement measures to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. However, that is not very much when one considers that proven measures such as installation of new bike lanes can cost between $1-12 million per mile depending on the city and region in the country.

In addition to infrastructure changes and investment, regulators are calling on vehicle manufacturers to change their designs. They argue that installing pedestrian detection systems, and replacing blunt front ends on SUVs and light trucks with sloping, more aerodynamic designs could reduce the risk to pedestrians. This is critical because the number of SUV involved pedestrian fatalities has risen 50% from 2013 to 2017.

Call in the Bull when you are injured in a pedestrian accident. Our attorneys represent clients pursuing accident claims in Kansas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.Why are Pedestrian Deaths Rising?