New Study Reveals Shocking Increase in Pedestrian Deaths, Could Be Linked to More SUVs on the Road

New Study Reveals Shocking Increase in Pedestrian Deaths, Could Be Linked to More SUVs on the Road.

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently estimated that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in auto-related incidents in 2018, a 4% increase from 2017. If accurate, that would mean that 2018 saw the most pedestrian fatalities in one year in since 1990. The GHSA seems to believe the increase in pedestrian deaths is linked to the greater number of SUVs on the road. The GHSA found that the number of pedestrians killed by SUVs increased by 50 percent from 2013 through 2017, while the number of pedestrians killed by passenger cars only increased by 30 percent over that same period. There appear to be two primary reasons for the greater increase in SUV-related pedestrian deaths: 1) rising SUV sales results in a greater number of SUVs on the road; and 2) pedestrians are much less likely to survive being struck by an SUV as opposed to a car. The GHSA pointed out that a number of other factors may also be contributing to the increase in pedestrian deaths, including more people walking to work, insufficient pedestrian road crossings, speeding, drowsy driving, drinking and population growth in certain areas. It is also widely believed that distracted driving and distracted walking may be contributing to the problem. The GHSA’s study also suggests that pedestrians are at much greater risk of being hit after dark. In 2017, 75% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night.

At Chaffin & Homan, we are intimately familiar with the dangers faced by pedestrians in our busy Houston metropolitan area. In 2017, we represented the family of a pedestrian that was struck and killed at night as she attempted to cross the street. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of our clients and 3 months later, the driver’s insurance carrier was offering the full policy limits and begging us to settle. The recent GHSA study only reinforces what we have already learned through years of experience with pedestrian cases: look both ways before crossing, use the designated pedestrian crosswalk if possible, walk on the sidewalk whenever possible, and try your best to avoid walking at night. Unfortunately, as a pedestrian in our state, you can follow all the rules and you are still at risk of being struck by distracted and dangerous drivers. Texas is one of five states (along with CA, AZ, GA, and FL) that accounted for roughly half of all pedestrian deaths in 2018.  If you or your loved one has been involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, we would like to help. Call us today for a free consultation.