A startling report released in January says that 49,340 pedestrians in the U.S. were killed by motor vehicles in the 10-year period from 2008 through the end of 2017. The Dangerous by Design 2019 report was put together by the National Complete Streets Coalition and advocacy group Smart Growth America. The organizations used statistics from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of fatality accidents, to develop the report.
The most deadly year for pedestrians was 2016, when 6,080 people were killed, followed by 2017, which counted 5,977 pedestrian deaths. Both of these years were the worst for people on foot since 1990. Florida is the most dangerous state for walkers–eight out of the top 10 most deadly metro areas for pedestrians are in the Sunshine State. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area is ranked No. 1 when it comes to pedestrian fatality accidents.
The number of pedestrian fatalities has increased by 35 percent since a decade earlier, the report shows. Yet the numbers of trips made on foot throughout the country have increased by less than a percentage point. Contrast this with the number of miles driven by motor vehicles, which have risen by over 8 percent, yet deaths of occupants in cars and other vehicles have decreased by more than 6 percent.
Why is Walking Unsafe?
What is causing the high numbers of pedestrian deaths nationwide? Government officials, police and safety experts point to many different things. Distracted driving, including the use of cell phones behind the wheel, is one reason. Others include a lack of sidewalks and other poor infrastructure design that forces pedestrians onto or near busy roads. A lack of marked crosswalks in some communities also puts pedestrians at risk. Alcohol impairment is a factor in pedestrian accidents, either for the driver or the pedestrian, and sometimes both. In 2016, 48 percent of all fatal crashes involved alcohol, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration..
Where Does New York Stand?
While New York is not among the top states for pedestrian fatalities, according to the report, and pedestrian deaths in NYC have declined significantly, still the city leads the nation when it comes to danger at its intersections, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In 2017, there were 101 pedestrian fatalities overall in the city, which is the lowest figure since record-keeping began in 1910. However, 33 percent of pedestrian deaths in the city were at intersections. Nationwide, less than 20 percent of fatalities were at intersections. Obviously, New York City has crowded streets and busy intersections. Accidents at intersections may be caused by drivers who fail to yield to walkers, run red lights, or perform other aggressive driving behaviors. Poorly designed intersections with crossing signals that don’t allow enough time for pedestrians to cross or have very wide intersections with no crossings at all can cause accidents and fatalities.
Always Walk Defensively
It’s important for pedestrians to always walk defensively. You can help yourself stay safe by obeying street signs and signals, not jaywalking, staying alert and on the lookout for cars at all times, making eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you and walking on sidewalks when they are available.
However, if you or a loved one is the unfortunate victim of a pedestrian or other accident, the qualified professionals at Kaplan Lawyers PC are here to assist you. Our attorneys are available for you to contact 24/7.