Pedestrian fatalities may have hit 30-year high

Ohio readers may be alarmed to learn that 2018 was a particularly deadly year for pedestrians. In fact, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, more pedestrians may have died on U.S. roads last year than at any point in the last 28 years.

GHSA researchers analyzed preliminary data reported by state agencies for the first half of 2018. Using the available figures, they estimated that 6,227 people died while walking on or around roads last year. That is 250 more people than were killed in 2017, and it is the highest number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads since 1990. Further, it represents a 51.5 percent increase from 2009's low of 4,109. If the numbers hold, pedestrian deaths will comprise 16 percent of all American traffic deaths, an increase from 12 percent in 2009.

According to the report, SUVs and an increase in cellphone use are two of the most likely causes for the spike in deaths. For example, while cars still account for most pedestrian fatalities, SUV-related pedestrian deaths have spiked by 50 percent over the last five years. This could be because SUVs have higher front-end profiles than cars, making it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians. Meanwhile, there was a fivefold increase in cellphone use between 2010 and 2017. A AAA study found that 49 percent of drivers admit to talking on the phone while driving and 35 percent admit to texting while driving, which are behaviors that can lead to car accidents.

Victims of auto-pedestrian accidents often suffer severe injuries that require expensive medical intervention. To recover costs, many victims may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit them. This type of lawsuit might help victims recover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and other crash-related losses.

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