If you or someone you know was injured as a pedestrian in Covington, Kentucky, you could say one fortunate thing is that no one died. Every year since 2009, the number of pedestrian deaths has been going up, and the trend likely will not be reversed anytime soon.
In late 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is to come out with complete traffic death data for 2019. In a preliminary analysis, the Governors Highway Safety Administration estimated that there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths in 2019.
A startling increase in pedestrian deaths
This number, if it is indeed accurate, marks a 5% increase from 2018 as well as a 60% increase from 2009, when the upward trend began. There were 4,109 pedestrian deaths in 2009. The last year the number was this high was 1988. By contrast, other traffic deaths saw a relatively minor 2% increase between 2009 and 2018.
The GHSA report had other interesting findings. For example, 47% of all the fatalities took place in five states: Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Texas and California. The highest fatality rates per 100,000 people were in Florida, New Mexico and Hawaii. Vermont, Idaho and Wisconsin had the lowest rates.
Reasons include more SUVs and distracted drivers
Pedestrians are being affected more than other road users for several reasons. One is the greater number of distracted drivers on the road; phones are largely to blame for this. Warmer weather is also drawing more drivers and pedestrians alike outdoors.
Above all, there has been an increase in SUVs and light trucks on the road. These made up 69% of all new vehicles sold in 2019 (compared to 48% in 2009). The GHSA says that pedestrians double the risk for fatal injuries when hit by a large SUV than when hit by a car.
An attorney to explain the personal injury laws
When pedestrian collisions are the fault of the driver, they can become the subject of a personal injury claim. It can be hard to file a claim and negotiate for a settlement on your own, so consider an attorney consultation.