Pedestrians in Washington may face growing threats on the road. Across the country, there were approximately 6,590 pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2019, a significant increase from previous years. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, this marks a 60% increase in pedestrian fatalities in the 10 years since 2009. Pedestrians faced more risks than others; other types of traffic deaths rose only 2% overall in the same time period.
Many people are concerned about risks to pedestrians, especially as many communities encourage walking and biking as green, healthful alternatives to driving everywhere. The increase in pedestrian deaths in 2019 reflected an ongoing trend and a 5% increase from one year earlier in 2018.
Pedestrian accidents can be particularly dangerous because people walking have little protection from large, heavy cars and trucks. A motor vehicle collision can easily cause severe damage to one party outside the car. Many states and municipalities have adopted initiatives that aim to minimize or eliminate pedestrian injuries and fatalities, but recent statistics may spark further concern. While there are more cars on the road than there were in the past, this does not necessarily mean that the roadways should be much more dangerous for pedestrians. Negligent driving, poorly constructed roads or hidden signs may all contribute to the threat.
While pedestrian fatalities consistently decreased between 1988 and 2009, there has been an ongoing upward trend since that time. Some people warn about the dangers of distracted driving, noting that the increased level of fatal accidents followed the rise of the smartphone. Surfing the internet and texting while driving have been linked to many serious crashes.
Pedestrians injured in a car accident may require ongoing treatment with costly medical bills. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help injured pedestrians pursue compensation for their damages.