Data indicates drunk driving, speeding, and smartphones have all contributed to a rise in pedestrian accidents.

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Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can result in serious injury. However, one’s chances of being severely harmed may be even greater if they’re involved in a pedestrian accident.

A car has a durable metal frame that surrounds its drivers and passengers. Enclosed vehicles also tend to be equipped with safety features like seatbelts and airbags.

These features offer some protection in a car accident. Unfortunately, those who are involved in accidents while on foot have no such protections.

Additionally, statistics indicate pedestrian accidents are becoming increasingly common throughout the United States. This overview will address some of the factors contributing to this trend and what pedestrians can do to avoid becoming victims.

The Significance of the Pedestrian Accident Problem

The degree to which pedestrian accidents are becoming more common can’t be understated. According to a report from the Governors Highway Association, 7,485 pedestrians lost their lives as a result of being struck by vehicles on U.S. roads in 2021. This marks the highest rate of annual pedestrian deaths in four decades.

This number also doesn’t include pedestrian accidents that aren’t fatal. Many pedestrians who are involved in accidents survive, only to be left with debilitating injuries.

Why Pedestrian Accidents Are Becoming More Common Across the Country

Numerous factors may account for why pedestrian accidents are on the rise. The following are merely among the more noteworthy:

Distracted Driving

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals distracted driving has become a more common cause of all types of motor vehicle accidents in recent years. This is almost certainly due in part to the rise of smartphone ownership. Our digital devices have made our lives more convenient, but they’ve also prevented many of us from paying attention while driving.

That said, pedestrian smartphone usage also plays a role in accidents. Those walking on or near roads must keep themselves safe by focusing on their surroundings instead of their devices.

Additionally, factors such as GPS can have a surprising impact on pedestrian accident rates. Although GPS should help guard against accidents by preventing confusion on the road, there’s reason to believe some drivers are so distracted by GPS directions that they actually become more likely to be involved in accidents.

Speeding

Early data shows that speeding surged during the pandemic. This trend has not appeared to reverse.

Pandemic lockdowns resulted in emptier roads. This may have made drivers feel more comfortable ignoring speed limits. Speeding can increase the chances of pedestrian accidents occurring by decreasing drivers’ ability to stop in time to avoid collisions with pedestrians.

Intoxicated Driving

Research also indicates that intoxicated driving increased during the pandemic. This trend appeared to be fairly pronounced during the final days of major lockdowns. It’s possible that those who had not been driving as frequently were now drinking more often at home (as this may have also been a means of coping with pandemic stress).

Intoxication slows reaction times and prevents drivers from being able to spot pedestrians on the road. This is particularly true at night, when pedestrians are already more difficult to see and drunk driving is more common.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals distracted driving has become a more common cause of all types of motor vehicle accidents in recent years.

How Pedestrians Can Avoid Being Involved in Accidents

Although it is the responsibility of motorists to take steps to minimize their chances of causing pedestrian accidents, pedestrians themselves can also boost their own safety by keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Don’t use a smartphone or listen to distracting audio while walking
  • Wear bright clothing in low-light conditions
  • Don’t walk while drunk (use public transportation or taxi/rideshare services instead)
  • Always use crosswalks when available
  • Err on the side of caution and only cross the street when there is no doubt about whether it’s safe to do so
  • Try to plan walking routes that allow you to avoid high-traffic areas when possible
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street to confirm they see you

That said, even if a pedestrian exercises caution, there is still a chance they will one day be harmed in an accident resulting from the negligence of a motorist.

If this has happened to you in Massachusetts, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses resulting from your accident.

Discuss your case with an attorney for more information about your options. At Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our Boston pedestrian accident lawyers have the experience necessary to offer the representation you deserve in these circumstances. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us online or call us at (800) 545-3732.

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James Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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