Motor vehicle accidents and injuries to drivers and passengers more or less remained stable over the past decade. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for pedestrians involved in crashes. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of pedestrian deaths in 2019 totaled 6,590 for the highest total in 30 years. This total is a 5% increase over 2018 and an astonishing 50% higher than in 2009. The number of pedestrian fatalities is now 17% of all road deaths (36,560 in 2018) as opposed to 12% in 2009.
Here in New Jersey, the total went up by 9%, going from 72 deaths to 79 deaths. This percentage places the Garden State in the middle of the percentage of the change list. However, we were still above the national average and ahead of New York (7%), Delaware (6%) and Pennsylvania, which had a significant 17% drop.
Why is this happening?
According to the GHSA’s study, the causes include:
- Distracted driving: This issue has reached epidemic proportions thanks to the rise of smartphones that drivers are often tempted to pick up while operating their vehicles.
- SUVs: The popularity of these vehicles has skyrocketed in recent years, but they are harder to maneuver, and, because they are larger, they impact bodies instead of legs.
- Intoxication: 16% of all road fatalities involving intoxicated drivers.
- Road design: Until recently, trends in road design favored traffic flow over safety. Concerns about light design are also implicated here as two-thirds of all fatalities occur after dark.
Families may take action
Running, walking, and biking are all healthy activities that we should be promoting, and the risks of being hit by an automobile unfortunately dampen the number of people willing to engage in them. Lawsuits for injuries or fatalities where a pedestrian is hit by an automobile may include a number of other entities, such as municipalities or the state, both of which have strict deadlines for notifying them of a potential claim. The attorneys at Goldstein, Ballen, O’Rourke & Wildstein, P.C. can help families determine the best course of legal action.