According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths in 2019, which represents a 5 percent increase over the previous year. What’s even more alarming is that this means there has been a 60 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in just ten years, while other types of traffic deaths only increased by 2 percent during that same time period.
The association points to a number of potential factors for the continued increase in deaths. One factor that is cited is the growing popularity of SUVs and light trucks. Ten years ago, these two types of vehicles made up 48 percent of new vehicle sales. A decade later and these vehicles make up 70 percent of new vehicle sales. Since these style vehicles are much larger and heavier than a sedan, pedestrians who are struck often suffer more severe injuries that are just too catastrophic to survive.
The association also cites cell phone use and driving as another factor for the increase. Many drivers continue to engage in distracted driving activities, despite the known dangers and – in many states – the fact these activities are against the law.
There have also been multiple studies that have found that certain factors put people more at risk of being killed or seriously injured in a pedestrian accident. The time of day is one factor, with about 75 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents occurring at night. This can be attributed to drivers dealing with decreased visibility, as well as a higher risk of driving under the influence of alcohol. Most fatal accidents occur during the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
The time of year also plays a significant factor. National statistics show that:
- In the fall and winter, more fatal pedestrian accidents happened between 6 and 8:59 p.m. than between 9 p.m. and midnight.
- In the spring and summer, more fatal pedestrian accidents happened between 9 p.m. and midnight than between 6 and 8:59 p.m.
The age and gender of victims also may make a difference in the percentage of risk a pedestrian faces in being killed in an accident. More than 65 percent of victims are male and the most common age group of victims who are killed are between 50 to 54, for both males and females.
Let Our Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm Help
For pedestrian accident victims who are fortunate to survive their injuries, the recovery can be a long and painful one. Our Virginia personal injury firm has successfully represented many pedestrian accident victims who were seriously injured because of a negligent driver. Some of the damages a victim can recover include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, permanent disability, and more.
If you have lost a loved one to a pedestrian accident, contact a dedicated Virginia wrongful death attorney to find out what legal options your family may have for your pain and loss. Our personal injury firm also offers a free wrongful death guide for families who have lost a loved one in an accident. The guide covers topics such as the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim, what types of damages can be pursued, and who can be appointed as personal representative.