Walking has never been the safest way to get from one place to another. Now, new findings from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that pedestrians are in greater danger than ever before. 2018 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in nearly 30 years, with 6,227 pedestrians killed by a motor vehicle in the last year. Who’s to blame? The answers might surprise you. More people are traveling by foot.
Whether folks are on a fitness kick, trying to be kinder to the environment, or choosing to take advantage of public transportation, people are simply walking more and the pedestrian population is growing in major cities. Unfortunately, smartphone use has grown too.
Far too many pedestrians are talking and walking, texting and walking, or using a navigation app and walking – which means they’re walking distracted. While motorists must watch out for people on foot, pedestrians must look out for themselves too, and many of them can’t because they’re otherwise engaged.
SUVs are a major threat.
Large SUVs make motorists feel safer and more powerful on Michigan roads. Unfortunately, these vehicles are a danger to pedestrians because of their size and elevated front ends. The number of pedestrian deaths that involved SUVs increased by 50 percent from 2013 to 2017 and pedestrians hit by an SUV are twice as likely to die as those hit by a car.
Motorists are careless and distracted.
User error remains the top cause of car accidents, including:
- Distracted driving: Motorists have always been distracted in their vehicles, whether by kids in the backseat, putting on makeup, eating, or changing the controls on the dashboard. Now, smartphone use while driving is making distracted driving even worse. Bluetooth, hands-free texting, and voice-to-text capabilities may seem safer than having your phone in your hand, but they take your attention away from the road – and the pedestrians around you.
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence has always been and will always be an epidemic. People who drive drunk fool themselves into thinking they drive just as well as when they’re sober. This is proven untrue. Alertness and reflexes are severely compromised by alcohol or drugs, which means seeing and avoiding pedestrians is less likely.
- Reckless driving: One of the biggest forms of reckless driving is speeding. Moving at a high rate of speed means any accident that occurs at that speed will be that much more devastating. Add an SUV and pedestrian to the mix and the situation just became deadly.
Drowsy driving, teen drivers, multitasking drivers, senior drivers, and so many other driving situations pose a risk to pedestrians. Night driving along is a problem – 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occur after the sun goes down. Ultimately, when pedestrians and motorists are sharing the same space or near each other, the risks go up.
The Aftermath of a Pedestrian Accident
If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, get support from your Michigan personal injury lawyer. Contact David C. Femminineo, car accident attorney in Macomb County, to schedule your consultation.