Why are pedestrian accident deaths on the rise?

Frank S. Clowney III

One of the most concerning accident trends in the last few years is the increasing number of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes. In 2019, the number of pedestrian deaths from auto accidents reached a 30-year high: 6,590 pedestrians were killed. That also was a 5% jump from pedestrian deaths in 2018, while all other traffic deaths only rose 2% between 2009 and 2018.

Unfortunately, California is one of the top five states for pedestrian deaths. The Golden State’s pedestrian fatality rate is 25% above the national average. Many of these deaths occur in busy metro areas, like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Yet what exactly is behind this large spike in pedestrian accident deaths?

Here are a few reasons behind this dangerous trend:

  1. More people are driving heavier vehicles, like SUVs. When heavier vehicles hit a pedestrian, the pedestrian is more likely to receive serious injuries or lose their life.
  2. Distracted driving is still a big problem. While it is illegal in California to have a cell phone in your hand while driving in California, many drivers still do this. Also, even using hand-free technology to send a text or make a call can be distracting. When drivers aren’t paying attention to the road, they miss seeing pedestrians in their path.
  3. More Californians are spending time outside walking and more motorists are on the road, leading to an increase in pedestrian accidents.
  4. More drivers are traveling at higher speeds, thus making any accident more dangerous –especially if a vehicle hits a pedestrian.

Families of those killed in pedestrian crashes may be eligible for wrongful death compensation. Pedestrians who face serious injuries after a crash may need help getting the compensation they need to fully recover or compensate for permanent disabilities. That’s why you may need to consult a personal injury attorney if you or a loved one was a pedestrian hit by a vehicle.