Over the last few years pedestrian deaths have been on the rise despite an overall reduction in traffic fatalities involving car occupants. According to the NHTSA, there were 6,283 pedestrian fatalities across the United States in 2018. This marked a three percent increase from the previous year.
Safety advocates attribute this rise in pedestrian fatalities to poorly designed roadway infrastructure and the increase in SUVs on our roads. Both of these factors have been proven to be hazardous to pedestrians.
In addition, pedestrians aren't given the same amount of support and safety resources as others on the road. Many people who walk live in impoverished areas and don't own cars.
How is poor infrastructure endangering pedestrians?
Angie Schmitt is a former Streetsblog USA editor and internationally recognized sustainable-transportation expert. In an interview with Schmitt in Streetsblog, she says that pedestrian deaths are not getting the attention they deserve. This has made the issue sort of invisible to the public.
Schmitt discussed important resources that should be given to pedestrians to promote safety, which she highlights in her recent book entitled Right of Way. These include:
- Adequate street lighting and functional street lighting that is placed in the right places. Roughly three quarters of pedestrians fatalities occur at night.
- More pedestrian amenities, such as pedestrian islands, retimed “Walk” signals, curb ramps and other infrastructural features that can better help pedestrians safely share the road with cars.
How can pedestrian safety audits save lives?
Proper lighting and safe infrastructural features are often seen in some urban areas, but not so much in low-income neighborhoods.
To address this problem, Schmitt discussed the importance of performing pedestrian safety audits. Performing an audit is a good way to determine where lights, crosswalks, pedestrian islands and other safety features should be installed. These audits should also involve input from the local community and those who regularly access the streets and roads on foot.
Schmitt also said that many cities spend more money on expanding business districts and dealing with traffic congestion, but very little on the safety of pedestrians.
How can drivers be held accountable when they injure or kill pedestrians?
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. They don't have the protection of structural frames, airbags, seatbelts or helmets. When they get hit by inattentive or reckless drivers, they often sustain serious and life threatening injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe lacerations, abrasions, and bruises
- Spinal injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Soft tissue injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, you deserve justice for you and your family. The attorneys at Mike Slocumb Law Firm are dedicated to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and helping pedestrian crash victims get the compensation they need.
We serve clients all over the United States. To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, contact us online.