Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are increasing across the United States. From 2009 to 2014, pedestrian deaths jumped 19 percent; from 2014 to 2015, approximately another 10 percent. During the first half of 2015, pedestrian deaths in Kentucky rose an estimated 20 percent. Overall in 2015, there were more than 5,300 pedestrian fatalities in the country, and they accounted for 15 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths.
What We Know About Pedestrian Fatalities
The Governors Highway Safety Association analyzed pedestrian fatality data from recent years and found:
- 72 percent of pedestrian accidents occur when it's dark.
- 34 percent of pedestrians and 15 percent of drivers had blood alcohol content greater than the legal limit to drive a car (0.08 percent).
- 74 percent of pedestrian fatalities did not occur at intersections.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives us more information about the people who died. According to the IIHS:
- 70 percent of pedestrians killed in 2015 were male.
- People age 70 and older had the highest death rate from pedestrian crashes every year from 1975-2015.
- 76 percent of the pedestrians who died were in urban areas.
Why Are Pedestrian Fatalities Increasing?
Louisville and other places in Kentucky are taking action to help prevent pedestrian crashes. In 2014, Louisville was one of three cities in the nation to receive a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As part of the Everyone Is a Pedestrian campaign, this multi-year grant enables recipients to:
- Develop a pedestrian education program for school children.
- Establish safe walking routes for senior citizens.
- Train law enforcement to better protect pedestrians.
- Increase crosswalk enforcement activities.
Despite these activities and other efforts throughout Kentucky, pedestrian accidents are still increasing. Some of the reasons for the increase are:
- More miles driven than in previous years. The price of fuel, less hazardous weather conditions, and improved economic conditions might have all led to an increase in motor vehicle travel. It's estimated there was a 3.5 percent increase in motor vehicle travel in the first half of 2015.
- Cell phone use by both pedestrians and drivers. Cell phones can be distracting and prevent pedestrians and motorists from seeing each other in time to avoid tragedies.
- Increase in pedestrian activity. Exercise generally and walking specifically is increasingly encouraged as healthy activities, and as a viable alternative to driving in some situations. Accordingly, more people may be on the streets when the weather allows.
- Poorly-designed roads. Many roads aren't designed with pedestrians in mind. Sidewalks, proper drainage, and adequate lighting are important to help prevent pedestrian crashes.
While local, state, and national government agencies continue to take steps to prevent pedestrian crashes, avoiding fatalities ultimately comes down to each individual situation.
What You Can Do If Your Loved One Has Died in a Pedestrian Crash
If you've lost a loved one, it's important to get help as soon as possible. Taking action, even during your grief, is vital because it will help:
- Hold the driver accountable. If a negligent driver caused your loved one’s death, you can obtain legal counsel to process your case against him in court or through settlement negotiations.
- Secure your family’s financial future. Without a fair settlement, your family will be responsible for all of the costs associated with your loved one’s death. This may include, but isn't limited to, doctors’ bills incurred prior to death, funeral costs, lost income, and pain and suffering.
In order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, you must do so before the statute of limitations expires, and you must have legal standing to file a case. You do not, however, have to do this alone. Instead, we encourage you to read our free report, Critical Information to Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky, and to contact us any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to learn more.