woman getting out of car after hitting pedestrianYou may think walking to your destination is best for your health and for the environment, but you could be taking your life in your hands when you walk in Kentucky. In the decade from 2008 to 2017, pedestrian fatalities increased by 35% in the United States while overall traffic deaths decreased by 6%. In 2017, pedestrian accidents claimed 83 lives in Kentucky and 5,977 lives across the U.S. On average, someone died in a pedestrian crash in the U.S. every 88 minutes. Given these statistics, it may be safer to drive to your destination.

What We Know About Pedestrian Fatalities

The Governors Highway Safety Association analyzed pedestrian fatality data from 2008 to 2017 and found:

  • 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occur when it's dark. Nighttime pedestrian deaths increased by 45% from 2008 to 2017, while daytime pedestrian deaths increased by 11%.
  • 32 percent of pedestrians and 17 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol content greater than .08 percent.
  • 72 percent of pedestrian fatalities did not occur at intersections.
  • 42 percent of striking vehicles were passenger cars. SUVs, pick-up trucks, vans, and large trucks also caused pedestrian deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives us more information about the people who died. According to NHTSA:

  • 70 percent of pedestrians killed in 2017 were male.
  • People between the ages of 55-59 and 75-59 had the highest overall pedestrian fatality rates by age group.
  • The male pedestrian fatality rate was more than double the rate for females.
  • 80 percent of the pedestrians who died were hit in urban areas.

Why Do Pedestrian Fatalities Occur?

Some of the reasons for increased pedestrian accidents fatalities from 2008 to 2017 include:

More miles are driven than in previous years. 

In 2016, 3.2 trillion miles were driven on U.S. roads, and in 2017 that number increased by 1.2%.

Cell phone use by both pedestrians and drivers. 

Cell phones can be distracting and can 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 than in years past.

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.

Louisville’s Master Plan to Prevent Pedestrian Deaths

In 2010, Louisville introduced the Louisville Pedestrian Master Plan to try to reduce pedestrian fatalities by the year 2030. The Master Plan included goals to: (1) improve the safety of sidewalks and pedestrian crossings; and (2) develop education and enforcement programs to improve pedestrian safety. In 2017, Louisville had the lowest percentage of pedestrian fatalities out of the city’s total traffic fatalities in the U.S.

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 fair compensation, 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.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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