Pedestrian Accident Fatalities on the Rise in the United States
With congested freeways and inadequate public transit, many people in Austin and across the country are choosing to walk to school, work, and recreational activities. However, pedestrian infrastructure across the country can leave much to be desired. The GHSA report for pedestrian accidents highlights the dangers pedestrians face in the United States.
According to the preliminary report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) for pedestrian accidents in 2019, there was a five percent increase in pedestrian fatalities since 2018. The number of pedestrian deaths is at a 30-year high. The projected total of pedestrians killed in accidents during 2019 is 6,950.
Some of the interesting facts from the report include:
- Pedestrians account for about 17 percent of all traffic deaths each year in the United States
- If the projections for 2019 are correct, 2019 will be the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1988
- There has been a 53 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities compared to only a two percent increase in all other traffic fatalities
- The number of pedestrians killed by SUVs has increased by 81 percent, compared to a 53 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities caused by passenger vehicles
- Most pedestrian deaths occur at night. Over the past decade, nighttime pedestrian deaths have increased by 65 percent, compared to a 16 percent increase in daytime pedestrian deaths
- Pedestrians hit by an SUV have twice the chance of being killed compared to pedestrians hit by passenger vehicles
- Texas had the third-highest pedestrian fatality rate for the first half of 2019, with over 300 pedestrian deaths
Pedestrian accidents can cause catastrophic injuries for the pedestrian. Many accidents involving pedestrians are preventable. Motorist and pedestrian errors are often the cause of a pedestrian-vehicle accident.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Austin
Poor driving behaviors account for many of the pedestrian accidents in Austin. Examples of driving behaviors that can be a factor in the cause of a pedestrian accident include:
- Distracted Driving
- Impaired Driving
- Failing to Yield the Right of Way
- Drowsy Driving
- Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
Many drivers do not pay enough attention to notice pedestrians. Drivers are more focused on speeding through an intersection or distracted by other things. They do not see the pedestrian until it is too late to stop.
In some cases, drivers do not stop when they hit a pedestrian. Hit and run pedestrian accidents are common. A driver fails to stop because the driver panics and fears going to hail for vehicular homicide.
However, pedestrians are also responsible for causing some crashes. Pedestrians who are distracted may not check for cars before crossing the road. Pedestrians who walk at night in dark clothing without lights can be impossible to see until the driver is almost upon the pedestrian.
Pedestrians must follow pedestrian traffic laws. If a pedestrian is partially at fault for the cause of an accident, the compensation for the accident damages could be reduced.
Injuries From Pedestrian Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, there is no protection from the impact of the vehicle. The person’s body is usually struck and then thrown into the air before striking another object or landing on the ground. Multiple injuries can occur from the impact and being thrown into the air.
In some cases, a car may run over a pedestrian, resulting in life-threatening injuries. Individuals who are run over by a vehicle have a high risk of death.
Injuries that are common in pedestrian accidents include:
- Multiple fractures and broken bones
- Back Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Chest Injuries
- Crushing Injuries
- Head and Brain Injuries
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
Most pedestrians require immediate emergency medical services. They are transported to the hospital for care and treatment. In some cases, emergency surgery is required to save a person’s life or repair the damage caused by the car accident.
Damages Caused by Pedestrian Accidents
Depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment required, a pedestrian accident claim can be substantial. The damages for medical bills and loss of income can be high. Also, the victim generally sustains intense physical and emotional pain and suffering because of the accident.
A person injured in a pedestrian accident is generally entitled to compensation for damages including:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Disabilities and Impairments
- Decreases in Earning Potential
- Personal Care
The amount a person may receive for a pedestrian accident claim depends on the facts of the case. A pedestrian accident lawyer can review the claim and provide more detailed information about the claims process, your legal rights, and the compensation you might receive from the driver who caused your injuries.