Pedestrian deaths have rose greatly in this country, according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association. In addition to the virtual absence of any protection to pedestrians, many factors have contributed to the record number of fatalities in auto-pedestrian accidents.
Earlier this year, the GHSA issued its preliminary data. From 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths rose by 35%. There were 4,414 deaths in 2008 compared to 5,977 in 2017. The combined number of all other traffic deaths, however, dropped by 6%. During this time, the number of pedestrian deaths comprising the total number of traffic fatalities also rose. This grew from 12 to 16%.
The GHSA estimated that 6,227 were killed in crashes in 2018. If accurate, this is a 4% increase from 2017, and the greatest number of pedestrian deaths in this country since 1990. For the first six months of 2017, Oregon suffered 34 fatalities. However, these dropped to 28 for the first six months of 2018 making Oregon one of 23 states which had a decrease.
The GHSA attributes the national increase to several factors. These include economic conditions, population growth, changes in demographics, weather fuel prices, the amount of vehicle travel and the amount of time pedestrians walk. Vehicle sales also shifted from passenger cars to light trucks which cause more pedestrian crashes. While passenger cars are still the highest category involved in deadly pedestrian accidents, the number of deaths involving SUVs rose by 50% from 2013 through 2017 compared to a 30% increase by passenger vehicles.
The GHSA also found that that the large growth of smartphone use over the last 10 years contributed to this trend as it became a growing distraction for drivers. Alcohol impairment for the driver or pedestrian was reported in almost half of all pedestrian traffic accident deaths in 2017. Pedestrian deaths increased mostly at night. The number of pedestrian fatalities in the evening grew by 45% from 2008 to 2017. There was only an 11% increase in pedestrian deaths over that time period.
Victims of an accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. Legal representation can help victims pursue this legal right through a personal injury action.