Cities have been gradually trying to encourage more people to take up walking as a way to reduce traffic congestion. The only problem is that walking around somewhere can get you hurt or killed in an accident very easily.
The rising tide of pedestrian deaths
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which tracks state and national trends involving safety, there were 6,227 pedestrians killed in the United States in 2018 alone. That's the largest number of fatalities in almost thirty years. It's also a 4 percent increase over the number of pedestrians killed the year before.
Keep in mind that those figures don't represent the thousands of pedestrians who were injured in accidents with cars and other vehicles and survived -- often with terrible injuries.
The role of new technology and poor urban planning
Despite things like backup cameras, motion sensors, and even semi-automated vehicles that are designed to brake when they encounter an obstacle (like a human), things keep getting worse for pedestrians? Why? What's causing all these injuries and deaths?
It's a small combination of factors, more than likely, including:
- A lot of vehicles on the road are bigger and heavier than ordinary cars, including pickup trucks, SUVs, and delivery vehicles.
- There are a lot of amateur chauffeurs out there, thanks to ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber, who may not be the safest drivers.
- The infrastructures of a lot of cities are badly designed for pedestrians. Cities were mostly designed for vehicles -- not foot traffic.
- Technology is actually making things more dangerous because pedestrians and drivers alike are often distracted by their smartphones.
The lifelong potential for harm from an accident
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's an accident involving a pedestrian every 1.5 hours. Common pedestrian injuries include head trauma, internal injuries, pelvic injuries, spinal cord injuries and bone fractures.
Even a minor head injury can cause major personality changes and cognitive issues. Internal injuries often lead to slow, painful deaths. Pelvic injuries and spinal cord injuries can leave someone in a wheelchair or on a walker for life. Even a few broken bones can put a victim out of work for months while he or she recovers.
If you've been injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, you may have legal options available to help you recover. An attorney can help you find out more.