On January 30, 2019, I wrote a blog, “Be Careful Where You Walk”, talking about the increase of pedestrians being killed by motor vehicles, particularly in the State of Florida. It appears that pedestrians being injured or killed by negligent and unlawful acts of drivers is not only increasing dramatically in Florida but throughout the United States as well. An estimated 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic in 2018. It’s startling when compared to 4,109 pedestrian deaths a decade earlier.
Investigating Pedestrian Safety
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2009 to 2016, (the last year available data) the number of pedestrian deaths in America rose by almost 50%. This alarming rise is approaching a three decade high. In September of 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a highway special investigation report on pedestrian safety.
The NTSB is a Federal Agency which is responsible for investigating major incidents and trends involving transportation safety. In order to assess and improve safety standards, the NTSB proposed a three prong approach for addressing pedestrian safety improvement. The report addresses vehicle based changes, infrastructural improvements and data needs. The report also considers improvements to vehicle lighting systems and other vehicle safety systems that can improve pedestrian safety and recognizes the needs of local transportation planning work to improve pedestrian safety.
In order to measure the effectiveness of some of the program efforts, and to guide the implementation of new counter measures, several of the recommendations target data collection.
The NTSB Proposes Improvements to Pedestrian Safety
As a result of the NTSB Investigation, the Board made new safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to the Federal Highway Administration and to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These findings and recommendations are in an effort to improve the chance and minimize the risk of pedestrians interacting with motor vehicles. This is in response to the disturbing trend of increasing pedestrian fatalities throughout the United States. By the by the time the NTSB completed its project the average number of pedestrian fatalities was 16 per day.
So, Why Are There So Many Pedestrian Fatalities?
A study from the Governors Highway Safety Association cites, alcohol use, unsafe infrastructure and the increasing number of SUV’s as some of the biggest problems contributing to the fatalities, increased use of smartphones, by drivers and pedestrians, also creates distractions, on both ends and contributes to the rise of pedestrian fatalities.
Be safe. The lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan have helped 100’s of pedestrians injured or killed by motor vehicles.
David R Heffernan