Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise across America. Each year, reports show an increase in pedestrian deaths caused by traffic accidents in cities coast to coast. What is causing this rise in pedestrian fatalities often seen by an accident lawyer in Oregon and other states around the country?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 6,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2016. This number reflects the highest number of pedestrian deaths in America since 1996. Since 2009, pedestrian deaths have risen by 46 percent. Experts suspect that this rise in pedestrian deaths is related to various factors including:
* Inexperienced drivers
* Distracted drivers on cell phones
* Impaired drivers on alcohol and/or drugs
* Excessive speed
* Larger, heavier vehicles such as mini-vans and SUVs
* Pedestrians who ignore crosswalks and traffic signals
* Pedestrians who are distracted by cell phones and ear pieces
Studies show that most pedestrian fatalities are happening more in urban areas where the population has grown. Many cities around the country have increased residential housing in busy urban areas to attract younger people who want to live and work in the city. Many young people are attracted to urban living because it offers many conveniences such as public transportation, great restaurants, abundant nightlife, and close proximity to jobs. The addition of great new apartments, condos, and cool lofts in urban areas has created a significant increase in pedestrian traffic on city streets.
As a result of more people living in urban areas, some cities have redesigned busy traffic areas to include extra crosswalks, more stop signs, upgraded traffic signals, street barriers, and green belts. All of these ideas are a great way to reduce pedestrian fatalities. In more rural areas, upgrades to protect pedestrians are less common, so pedestrian deaths are still high. In these areas, dark roads, lack of stop signs and traffic signals, and speeding vehicles contribute to many pedestrian deaths every year. People living in more rural areas or city areas with no crosswalks or traffic signals must be extremely cautious when crossing the street.