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Pedestrian Deaths Have Fallen Amidst an Ongoing Safety Crisis

Pedestrian Deaths Have Fallen Amidst an Ongoing Safety Crisis

Since 2019, pedestrian fatalities have been near or at record levels. As an example, in 2021, 176 pedestrians died in Pennsylvania as a result of vehicle incidents. While pedestrian deaths are still high, last year's data indicates that there has been a moderate improvement in these numbers.

Pedestrian Fatality Statistics

During the first six months of 2023, the total number of pedestrians who were killed on U.S. roadways dropped by around 4%. While any reduction in pedestrian fatalities is a good thing, these numbers have been elevated since the COVID-19 pandemic. They reached a high in 2022 and have yet to drop to 2019 rates. The Governors Highway Safety Association believes that a lot more needs to be done to ensure these numbers don't continue to climb in the future. Between January and June of 2023, nearly 3,400 pedestrians died as a result of motor vehicle accidents. During the first half of 2022, over 3,500 pedestrians were killed. However, the six-month data would need to drop below 3,000 for it to match the same period in 2019. Along with the reduction in total deaths, the rate of fatalities for every 100,000 people also declined. In 2022, 1.04 fatalities occurred per 100,000 people. In 2023, the rate dropped to 1.01 per 100,000 people. For 2018 and 2019, the rate was as low as 0.90 per 100,000 people. The location also makes a difference when looking at pedestrian deaths. While some states experienced double-digit drops, other states saw jumps in pedestrian fatalities during the same period. An Allentown personal injury lawyer can provide you with more information on these types of matters.

Potential Solutions to Reduce Pedestrian Deaths

In recent years, many cities have started to implement a Vision Zero strategy to reduce pedestrian deaths and make sure that vehicle collisions aren't as deadly. This strategy focuses on narrowing auto lanes and reducing speed limits. Some locations have also added extra protection for cyclists and pedestrians to more effectively signpost areas that vehicles don't have access to. States that take part in this program can gain access to grant money that amounts to billions of dollars. To continue reducing pedestrian deaths, more substantial measures may need to be taken, however. Cities might be tasked with changing their pedestrian and vehicle infrastructure entirely to force drivers to reduce their speeds while on the road. Along with investments in public transportation, new policies will likely be required to implement fees for large SUVs and collect vehicle weight taxes. Traffic enforcement would also need to be a significant focus for cities. For example, automated traffic cameras can reduce accidents and pedestrian deaths by handing out large penalties for regular offenders. Previous data on traffic cameras suggests that drivers reduce their speeds when they see them. To ensure pedestrian fatalities are properly dealt with, traffic engineers and city planners will need to work together with a focus on safety and efficient vehicle movement.

Challenges to Overcome

While cities have already taken steps to curb pedestrian deaths, there are some notable challenges that they will need to overcome in the future. For example, trucks and cars continue to get bigger, which means that they are heavier than ever before. The most destructive vehicles are ones that are built with blunt profiles and higher front ends. These vehicles are more likely to cause pedestrian fatalities during an accident. There are several reasons why a bulkier and heavier design is more problematic than others. Larger SUVs and trucks can be more difficult to control. Many of them also have sizable blind spots around the rear and front that make it more difficult to spot pedestrians in crowded locations. There are numerous statistics that show how dangerous larger vehicles can be at high speeds as well. In accidents that occurred at speeds between 20 and 39 mph and were caused by trucks and SUVs, around 30% were fatal to pedestrians. This percentage dropped to 23% for cars. At around 40 mph or higher, every SUV crash that involved a pedestrian resulted in their death. For cars, a little over 50% of the accidents caused fatalities. Motor vehicle collisions don't just affect the people who operate the vehicles. When a pedestrian is hit by a car or truck, they can sustain serious injuries. If you were recently injured in an accident, call our Allentown personal injury lawyer today at (610) 435-7400 to schedule your initial consultation.

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