Why Did Pedestrian Fatalities Go Up in 2020?

The rate of fatalities caused by pedestrian accidents increased by nearly 20% in 2020, according to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association. This is despite an overall drop in traffic, due to travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. So why did the rate of pedestrian fatalities go up during this time?

  • More speeding and traffic violations
    • During the pandemic, more people engaged in reckless driving behavior, such as speeding and running red lights. This kind of reckless behavior, ironically, was encouraged by a lack of vehicles on the road, causing them to ignore traffic safety laws. As a result, though, motorists were less able to respond to pedestrians, and when an accident occurred, the increased speed made accidents more likely to be fatal.
  • Lack of safe road crossings
    • The majority of pedestrian fatalities do not occur at intersections, but instead from people walking alongside or across regular roads. Often, these accidents occur in places where there are no sidewalks, or where there are no safe road crossings for pedestrians. This makes it more likely that a pedestrian will walk into traffic, or be hit by an inattentive driver who does not notice them walking along or across the road.
  • Increased use of SUVs and light trucks
    • An important contributor to the rate of pedestrian fatalities has less to do with how people are driving, and more to do with what they are driving. Specifically, the past couple of years have seen more people buying sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and light trucks instead of conventional passenger cars. These bigger, heavier vehicles are sturdier and can hold more things than a regular passenger car, but they also cause a much stronger impact in a pedestrian accident, increasing the likelihood of serious injury or death.
  • More walking at night
    • Over the course of the pandemic, more people took to walking as a way of getting out and getting exercise. Unfortunately, many of these people chose to take their walks at night, when it is harder for motorists to see pedestrians. The more people who were walking at night, the greater the likelihood that a motorist would not see them in time and crash into them, potentially resulting in injury or death.
  • Driving under the influence
    • People have been coping with the stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic in a variety of ways, some of which are healthier than others. This has led to an increase of alcohol consumption, as well as other intoxicants, which in turn has led to an increase in DUIs. Driving under the influence is dangerous, however, increasing the likelihood of traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in personal injury law will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with being the victim of negligence. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York personal injury lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.

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