green checkmark Google Screened
  • Contact Us Today

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Pedestrian Deaths Continuing to Rise

    Pedestrian deaths in the United States began to decline in the 1980s, the annual number steadily decreasing until about fourteen years ago. It was then, around 2009, that the pedestrian fatality rate began to grow – and it has continued to grow larger every year since. While safety experts are still working to understand more about the sudden shift from decline to growth in pedestrian deaths, there is some data that can hopefully help us to keep our roads safe.

    While the 2000s have seen significant progress in both safety and technology, leaders in roadway safety fear that the automotive industry’s advancements may have failed to account for one crucial aspect: the toll of nighttime pedestrian deaths, which greatly outweigh the number of deaths to occur at any other time of the day.

    Risks for Pedestrians

    Other countries have seen a drop in pedestrian deaths, but here, the opposite is true. Factors like higher speed limits, lax rules and dangerous driving behaviors, like distracted driving, aggressive driving and speeding, may very well be among the culprits to blame for the increase of pedestrian deaths. Safety experts cite other factors, too, like how American pedestrians may be especially vulnerable to the risks brought about by technological advancements, like smart phones and larger, heavier motor vehicles.

    Thousands of pedestrians die in the U.S. each year; in 2021, 7,100 lost their lives. Researchers estimate that 7,500 pedestrians were killed last year, which is the highest number of fatalities in over four decades.  While not all the incidents have the same thing in common, many do. And that commonality is at what time these fatal accidents take place: at night-time. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that more pedestrians are killed by drivers when the sun sets, and it abruptly changes from light to dark. Why is this? Here are just a few reasons:

    • Pedestrians typically do not wear reflective gear or lights, which makes it harder to see them than other types of roadway users
    • Most American roads were not designed with pedestrian safety and visibility in mind
    • Darkness appears to increase risks specifically for pedestrians. Fatalities among cyclists and other roadway users, like motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists, do not increase distinctly in the same way
    • Distracted driving is much more common due to the prevalence of smart phones — and other technologies – in American vehicles. Data shows that distracted driving tends to peak during evening hours, which increases the chances of an accident that involves a pedestrian (or anyone else) happening
    • Driver fatigue, which is known to contribute to thousands of deadly accidents each year, is more common during the later hours of the day
    • Vehicle design. It is obvious that heavier vehicles will hit pedestrians with more force due to their heavier weight, but what you might not know is that bigger vehicles also come equipped with worse brake times. Researchers also found that motor vehicles with taller hoods are more likely to cause fatal injuries if they strike a pedestrian since they strike people closer to the head, neck or torso
    • Drugs and alcohol are also a major factor in pedestrian deaths. A federal study that collected data from trauma centers and medical examiners found that in the years leading up to the pandemic that half of the drivers involved in a fatal pedestrian incident tested positive for at least one active drug – this number grew to 65% testing positive for at least one active drug during the pandemic
    • People experiencing housing crises or who are unhoused face especially high risks of being involved in an accident that involves a motor vehicle; for example, in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and Portland, as many as 70% of pedestrian fatalities are unhoused individuals
    • Age also appears to be a factor in pedestrian deaths – the number has grown significantly among working-age people who are between 18 and 64 years old. The number of pedestrian fatalities among children and teens, luckily, has not increased

    Ways to Improve Pedestrian Safety

    Federal agencies and safety experts have lots of ideas for how we can bolster pedestrian safety – but the question is, when will these important changes start happening on a large enough scale to truly make a difference? Effective strategies for promoting pedestrian safety include the widespread installation of red-light cameras, lowering speed limits, ensuring that roadways are well-lit, implementing sharp corners instead of round curves (to force drivers to slow down), installing pedestrian “islands” so that people who are out walking can safely stop in the middle of an intersection and increasing police presence. While many cities around the country have taken steps towards small improvements, the growing number of pedestrian fatalities does nothing short of prove that we need to take much bigger steps – and fast.

    We Protect the Rights of Injured Pedestrians

    Sadly, the state of Pennsylvania has no shortage of incidents involving pedestrians. The latest reporting year, for example, saw nearly 4,300 pedestrian crashes with over 4,100 injuries and 150 fatalities. At Galfand Berger, our firm has a longstanding history of protecting the rights of injured pedestrians. Here is an example of one of our previous cases:

    • Our client, a pedestrian, was directing traffic at a construction site when a car struck him. Our client suffered significant injuries, including a closed head injury and the loss of one of his legs. Although the driver’s insurance company denied coverage, we challenged their decision and won at trial, securing a $1,500,000.00 settlement for our client. You can read more about this recovery at:

    If you were injured in a pedestrian accident and have questions about filing a legal claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online n

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)