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Traffic fatalities have gone down -- So why are pedestrian deaths increasing?

Birmingham pedestrian accident attorney

Getting around on foot has never been as dangerous as it is today. At the rate we are currently going, it may only get worse before we begin to see improvements. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the United States has seen a 35 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities over the course of one decade — from 4,414 in 2008 to 6,227 in 2018. The tradeoff: reduced traffic fatalities involving cars.

In 2018, Alabama ranked as the 8th deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians, according to an annual report released by the GHSA. Based on preliminary data, from January to June of 2017, nearly 60 pedestrian deaths occurred on Alabama roads — a fatality rate of 1.21 deaths per 100,000 people.

Driving has become safer, walking more dangerous

If you purchase a new car, it will likely come standard with advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) technology. These systems can alert drivers of an imminent collision risk, help prevent lane departure, help maintain safe following distance, and even apply the brakes when needed. In addition, the addition of side airbags and improved front-end collision absorption has helped increase the likelihood of surviving a crash.

Yet not enough attention has been paid to pedestrian safety. Unlike vehicle occupants, pedestrians aren't protected by seatbelts, airbags, or advanced safety technology. You don't really see pedestrians wearing helmets or other protective gear like you see with bicyclists and motorcyclists. Therefore, pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and most susceptible to fatal injuries.

Factors that play a role in pedestrian deaths

What's causing the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths? According to safety advocates, there are several factors that come into play. These are the leading ones:

  • Infrastructure: American roadways have become more convenient for drivers. Most cities are riddled with wide high-speed roads with multiple lanes. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are given nothing more than signalized crosswalks that they must cross within a short period of time. In some areas, pedestrians aren't afforded any kind of walkable infrastructure: no crosswalks, no pedestrian signs, and no sidewalks. Walking is done at their own risk.
  • Vehicle size: More Americans are ditching smaller cars for larger SUVs and pickup trucks. Since these vehicles typically weigh more than cars, they often inflict more serious injuries when they collide with pedestrians. In comparison to smaller cars, pedestrian accidents involving SUVs and pickup trucks have a much lower survivability rate.
  • Human error: Distracted driving has become a growing concern on Alabama roads. Everywhere you look, a driver is holding a cellphone or engaging in a task that has nothing to do with driving. Pedestrian deaths are also caused by drunk driving, drowsy driving, and speeding (especially in areas with high foot traffic).

Contact a car accident lawyer that puts victims' needs first

If you were struck by a negligent driver while walking in Alabama, you likely sustained serious injuries: broken bones, head trauma, or spinal injuries. Needed medical care, X-rays, pain medication, and even surgery, will likely result in a pile of medical bills. Furthermore, you may have to undergo months of physical therapy while you're unable to attend work.

You shouldn't have to pay a dime out of your own pocket because of someone else's negligent behavior. That's why the attorneys at Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC, based in Birmingham, would like to help you. We help injured pedestrians across the state of Alabama maximize their compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

To get started on your claim, contact us online and schedule your free case evaluation with our legal team.

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