Almost 6,000 Pedestrians Were Killed in 2017 Crashes

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Phoenix, AZ

A new study blames distracted walkers and drivers for the latest jump in US pedestrian deaths. The total US pedestrian deaths almost reached 6,000 in 2016 and 2017, as a pedestrian accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on at the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC knows. Experts suspect that this rise is partly due to increased smartphone and marijuana use.

Texting while walking is especially dangerous in urban areas, and in combination with drivers on their phones or using touchscreens, it can be a recipe for collisions and injuries.

It is believed that driving and walking under the influence are a growing factor, in the District of Columbia and the seven states that legalized marijuana for recreational use, pedestrian deaths increased 16.4% in the first half of 2017.

The new Governors Highway Safety Association report estimates that 5,984 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017. That number holds steady from 2016. There had been large jumps the previous two years, 9% increase in 2016 and a 9.5% increase in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Another concern is drunken walkers are dying in traffic crashes at high rates. NHTSA reports that a third of pedestrians killed in crashes in 2016 were over the legal limit, that’s nearly 2,000 people, at an increase of more than 300 people since 2014.

While the problems of drunk driving have long been publicized, drunken walking is also dangerous. Being drunk can negatively affect your judgment and reaction time and result in poor decision making and risky behavior, such as crossing a street mid block or crossing an intersection against the traffic light.  Drunk walkers might not be aware whether or not drivers can see them.

Pedestrian deaths are a growing concern, they jumped 27% from 2007 to 2016 while other US traffic deaths dropped. When alcohol impairment factors into a pedestrian death, it’s more often the pedestrian who is drunk. In these cases, the drivers may not see the drunken pedestrian in the road until it is too late.

The victims, largely between the ages of 21 and 59, sometimes cross the street mid block. If they are intoxicated, their reflexes are impaired, and they might stumble into the street, or not be able to react as quickly.

Not enough has been done nationwide to educate people about the risks of walking or bicycling under the influence according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study recommends lowering speed limits, improving roadway lighting, and marketing ride hailing services to pedestrians and bicyclists, just as they do for drivers who have been drinking.

Safety experts suggest expanding anti drunken driving campaigns to include pedestrians and bicyclists.

Some pedestrian advocates want to ensure that the message doesn’t blame the victim, who has tried to do the right thing by walking instead of driving while intoxicated.

Another preventative measure cities and towns could take would be to increase streetlights. About 75% of fatalities occur at night, and brighter roads could mean safer roads. Additionally, roads can be reengineered to include pedestrian medians, barriers and bridges, to create safer systems for pedestrians and drivers.