Pedestrian deaths grew by 46 percent from 2009 to 2016, which was the latest year that figures are available. Without recommended improvements, these accidents will become a growing danger and a source of wrongful death legal actions by families who suffer the loss of a loved one.
There were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. This was the greatest number of deaths since 1990. This Governor's Highway Safety Administration report predicts that this figure will be the same for 2017.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which made several recommendations, did not blame the increase on one cause. Researcher, however, argue that an improving economy brought more pedestrians onto the streets. Other causes included demographic changes and more cellphone use. The GHSA has called for more research on the causes of pedestrian fatalities.
The NTSB made 11 recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal highway Administration. It asked for the installation of pedestrian detecting systems and better headlight and braking systems on vehicles. Pedestrians features, such as softer bumpers, were also recommended. Data collection on these accidents should also improve.
Local infrastructure should be upgraded with the installation of more medians and sidewalks, according to the GHSA. It also sought improved lighting, automatic speed enforcement, and more public education on safety.
New York City took steps to fight this problem in 2017 when it lowered speed limits, increased enforcement, and used safer street designs. Its pedestrian deaths dropped to 101 that year, which was the lowest since 1910 when record keeping began.
Lacking protection, pedestrians face the possibility of death when being struck by a vehicle. An attorney can help surviving family members seek compensation when death is caused by driver negligence or inadequate safety infrastructure or equipment.