More and More Pedestrians Dying on US Roads

Roadway deaths are on the rise. Between 2014 and 2016, deaths on US roads increased by over 14%. While deaths overall have soared, the category of roadway occupant that has suffered the greatest increase in fatalities is that of pedestrians. Read on to learn about the rise in pedestrian deaths and ways that these deaths could be brought under control. Contact a seasoned Oregon personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been the victim of an Oregon pedestrian accident.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts and collects research on roadway safety, and the IIHS recently released a report on pedestrian death rates in the US. According to this report, pedestrian fatalities have climbed precipitously since hitting an all-time low in 2009, when only 4,109 pedestrians died in motor vehicle-related accidents. The IIHS reports that, in 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed by cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles. This makes 2016 the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1990, when 6,482 pedestrians died on the road. This number also marks a 46% rise in pedestrian fatalities since 2009’s all-time low number of pedestrian fatalities.

Experts aren’t completely sure why so many pedestrians are dying on the road. Some attribute the rise in part to a strengthening economy resulting in more drivers on the road. Some suggest that an increasing attention to health and exercise means that more people are traveling on foot, resulting in more opportunities for accidents. Some safety researchers believe that distracted driving, which they say is vastly underreported, has been a major cause of the increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Experts can’t pinpoint the exact cause of the rise in fatalities, but they do offer several suggestions for how pedestrian deaths can be brought under control:

  • Limiting distracted driving: Drivers who fail to keep their eyes on the road while behind the wheel are more apt to miss smaller objects in the roadway, such as pedestrians and cyclists. Reducing distracted driving would have a positive effect on overall road safety, with an especially profound effect for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Building more crosswalks: The farther apart crosswalks are, the more likely pedestrians are to cross between crosswalks and risk getting hit. Studies show that increasing the number of crosswalks makes pedestrian fatalities less likely.
  • Changing vehicle design: Pedestrian deaths have been found more likely to occur in areas with more SUVs and vans on the road, due to the lifted and often vertical front ends common among these vehicles. By altering the design of SUVs and vans, researchers suspect that pedestrian deaths would fall in frequency.

If you’ve been hurt in a pedestrian accident in Oregon, contact the knowledgeable and effective Bend personal injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Dretke Attorneys, PC for a free consultation at 541-617-0555, with additional offices in Eugene, Portland, Roseburg, Medford, and Grants Pass.