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Why Have Pedestrian Deaths Increased to Their Highest Levels in 40 Years?

Many people naturally assume that it’s safer to go by foot than to travel by motor vehicle given the relative protection afforded by sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals. However, this year’s annual study on pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. by the Governors Highway Association may serve to give them pause.

Indeed, after examining preliminary data on pedestrian fatalities during the first six months of 2015 supplied by the highway departments of the 50 states, the GHSA arrived at some startling conclusions.

What exactly did the GHSA report determine?

The preliminary data supplied by state highway agencies revealed that from January 2015 to June 2015 approximately 2,368 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents versus 2,232 pedestrians during the same time frame in 2014. While this is a six percent increase, the GHSA researchers predicted that the actual number will likely be closer to 10 percent due to under reporting.

How significant is this 10 percent increase?

According to the GHSA report, it’s the single largest year-over-year increase in pedestrian deaths since these records started to be kept back in 1975.

Why did pedestrian fatalities jump so much?

The GHSA report identifies a multitude of factors for this increase in pedestrian deaths, including 1) cheaper gas and better economic conditions putting more people on the road, 2) more people choosing to walk due to concerns about their health, finances or the environment, 3) the use of cellphones by pedestrians and motorists skyrocketing, and 4) improvements in vehicle safety doing little to lessen the severity of injuries sustained by pedestrians.

How did the states perform on an individual basis?

The GHSA report found that from January 2015 to June 2015, three states reported no changes in pedestrian fatalities, 21 saw decreases in pedestrian fatalities and 26 states saw increases in pedestrian fatalities.

Here in Tennessee, the number of pedestrian deaths actually decreased from 47 to 46.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of the recklessness of a motorist, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.