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Pedestrian Fatalities Have Spiked in the COVID Era

Pedestrian Fatalities Have Spiked in the COVID Era

car about to hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk

Pedestrian accidents often have catastrophic consequences. The impact of a vehicle on a human body often leads to severe injuries, and is tragically, often fatal. A recent New York Times article described pedestrian accidents as dangerous situations that are also becoming more common in the last two years. In fact, pedestrian fatalities (and car accident fatalities in general) are soaring to record levels since the pandemic began.

Why are there more pedestrian accidents since the pandemic began?

The reasons behind this massive increase include increases in distracted driving, reckless driving, street racing, and drunk driving. The same NY Times article reported that drivers may not be gauging the risk of reckless driving, resulting in more dangerous road habits that have intensified the peril of traffic accidents. The level of law enforcement to track these trends varies on locality, too.

States with dramatic rises in pedestrian fatalities include New Jersey, with the highest number of pedestrian accident deaths in 30 years, Utah, which saw a 22 percent increase in pedestrian deaths, and Texas, where pedestrian deaths rose to the highest level ever.

Despite a decreased number of motorists on the road since the pandemic began in 2020, traffic crashes and fatalities have exacerbated a trend of the last decade.  According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), traffic crashes that have resulted in pedestrian fatalities have risen 46 percent over the last ten years, compared with a five percent increase for all other traffic accidents.

While there has been a reduced number of drivers and vehicles on the road in the Covid-era, with the number of miles driven declining by 13 percent, a record increase in pedestrian deaths happened in the same period. The GHSA further found that the pedestrian fatality rate in the U.S. increased 20 percent in the first six months of 2020 alone.

What is a pedestrian accident?

The data reveals that the pandemic has ushered in more dangerous roads for pedestrians and drivers. However, both drivers and pedestrians have a duty of care to obey the laws on the road, including traffic signals, speed limits, crosswalk signals, as well as exercise reasonable care. By definition, pedestrian accidents include someone who is moving by foot, usually running or walking, near or on a road, and a vehicle.

Who is responsible for a pedestrian accident?

Sometimes a pedestrian accident results in more than one party who is responsible. The driver of the vehicle that struck the pedestrian may be liable, and the pedestrian may also be legally responsible if they failed to keep their duty of care. The municipality in charge of maintaining the roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks may also be held liable for a pedestrian accident that has resulted in damages.

How can an attorney help me after a pedestrian accident?

A pedestrian accident is a stressful event and it can be difficult to know what the next steps are. Whether you are facing complicated negotiations with an insurance company to suffering from a serious injury, you may benefit from an experienced trial attorney.