The number of pedestrians killed in accidents skyrocketed during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) says.
The lockdown that shuttered businesses and sent millions of Americans to work from home accounted for a 13 percent drop in vehicle miles traveled, according to the GHSA report. Even with fewer cars on the roads, 6,721 pedestrians were killed — a record high since the agency began collecting statistics in 1975.
The number of deaths represents a 4.8 percent increase from the previous year. While that spike may not sound that high, it actually accounts for a 21 percent jump when adjusted for the decline in vehicle miles traveled. The most common causes of pedestrian accidents were reckless driving, drunk or drugged driving, and distracted driving, the report says.
Pedestrian Fatalities Statistics
Beyond the pandemic, data over a recent decade shows an alarming rise in pedestrian deaths. Consider these figures compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s FARS database:
- Pedestrian fatalities rose 46 percent in 10 years, but there was only a five percent uptick for all other traffic-related deaths.
- Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, where there is a high concentration of motor vehicles and people.
- The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur on local roads when it’s dark. In just a decade, the number of drivers that killed a pedestrian in the dark spiked 54 percent.
- Passenger cars are the most frequent type of vehicle involved in pedestrian accidents. However, the number of pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs increased at a higher rate than collisions with passenger cars (69 percent vs. 46 percent).
- Most pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersections.
- Alcohol impairment, either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian, was a factor in nearly half of accidents that resulted in a pedestrian death.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
Both drivers and pedestrians must act responsibly on the roads. If you’re going to be traveling on foot in Maryland, follow these tips:
- Always use sidewalks and crosswalks where available.
- Look left-right-left before crossing the street.
- At intersections, press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal before entering the road.
- Pay extra attention to neighborhood roads with driveways and alleys.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially if you’re walking at dawn, dusk, or at night.
- Don’t text or talking on the phone while walking.
- Keep headphones off or music down so that you can hear horns or oncoming traffic.
- Be mindful of your alcohol intake. While walking is safer than driving, it’s not smart if you’re so impaired that you can’t stay on the sidewalk or make wise judgment calls at intersections.
How a Maryland Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Guide You
If you were hurt while walking in Waldorf, Charles County, or anywhere in Southern Maryland, talk to a pedestrian accident lawyer at Trollinger Law LLC today. Maryland has harsh negligence laws that can prevent you from obtaining compensation for your injuries without solid proof. An experienced attorney from our law firm will know what it takes to build the most persuasive case for you.
You deserve justice. We can help. Call or contact Trollinger Law LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation.