Pedestrian Deaths Are on the Rise: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently issued an alarming report on the safety of pedestrians in the United States. Between 2009 and 2016, pedestrian crashes increased in frequency and in severity. In fact, in 2016 alone, almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in crashes. This accounts for 16% of all car crash fatalities, and is the highest pedestrian death rate since 1990. In a separate report, Arizona earned the distinction of having the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the United States so far this year.

Data on Pedestrian Crash Rates

The IIHS looked at a number of factors to determine what is contributing to the increase in pedestrian crashes.

  • Deaths by land use:
    • 54% increase in urban areas
    • 25% increase in rural areas
  • Deaths based on road type:
    • Arterials recorded a 67% increase in pedestrian deaths
    • Interstates and freeways recorded a 49% increase in pedestrian deaths
    • Collectors and local roads had the smallest increase, at 9%
  • Deaths by location:
    • Non-intersection pedestrian deaths have increased by 50%
    • Intersection pedestrian deaths have increased by 35%
  • Deaths by light condition:
    • Pedestrian fatalities in the dark increased by 56%
    • Dawn and dusk pedestrian fatalities increased by 27%
    • Daylight pedestrian fatalities increased by 20%

Protecting Pedestrians Moving Forward

Based on this data, the IIHS has made several recommendations to increase pedestrian safety going forward.

  • Recommendation 1: The increase in pedestrian deaths at arterials is not surprising, since there usually are not frequent and safe crossing locations. A solution to this problem is to install pedestrian activated beacons. The use of these beacons has been shown to reduce pedestrian crashes. Curb extensions and median crossing islands can also improve pedestrian safety.
  • Recommendation 2: Faster speeds increase the frequency of pedestrian crashes, as well as fatality rates. The faster a car is going when the driver sees a pedestrian, the less time there is to stop. Decreasing speed limits and enforcing existing speed limits has been proven to reduce pedestrian fatality rates.
  • Recommendation 3: Surprisingly, IIHS only launched their headlight rating program in 2016. In the 2016 model year, only two models were available with headlights rated “good.” In 2018 models, that number has increased to 26. With better headlights, drivers are more likely to see pedestrians, and to see them sooner.

If You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in a Pedestrian Car Crash

If you or a loved one has bee injured in a pedestrian car crash, or if a loved one has been killed in a car crash, contact the lawyers at Miller Kory Rowe, LLP. Our attorneys have experience handling pedestrian accidents, and can put our years of experience to work for you. We will seek compensation for lost wages and medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. Contact us today at (602) 461-8640 for a no obligation consultation.

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