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Why are pedestrian fatalities on the rise?


Pedestrians have always faced unique challenges among vehicles, but statistics show that more people on foot were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018 than in any year for the prior 28 years.

With the start of summer, many people in West Virginia are getting excited at the prospect of warmer and longer days allowing them to be outside and walking more frequently. Someone may head out to walk the dog, go for a jog or simply choose to walk an extra couple of blocks between a parking lot and a desired destination. Regardless of the situation, these events are theoretically good for a person’s health, yet they may actually increase their risks on other fronts. Data has been released that shows the nation has seen a rise in the number of pedestrian fatalities.

2018: A deadly year for pedestrians in the U.S.

A report issued by CNBC explained that more pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents across the United States in 2018 than in nearly three decades. In the years spanning 2008 through 2018 alone, pedestrian deaths jumped a staggering 41% and represented 16% of all vehicular fatalities nationwide.

SUVs increase risks to pedestrians

According to The Verge, Americans’ infatuation with large vehicles like SUVs may well be one of the factors that contribute to the rise in pedestrian deaths. When a person is hit by a standard sedan or a compact vehicle, the impact may be largely felt in the legs or hips. When hit by a taller vehicle, however, the primary impact may more likely occur in the head or near the vital organs in the torso. This fact may contribute to more serious outcomes for pedestrians hit by these larger vehicles.

New vehicle technology not sufficient

Many new vehicles today come equipped with technology designed to reduce accidents. These features include pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems. AAA conducted closed-circuit tests with adult- and child-sized pedestrian dummies using multiple 2019 model vehicles with both pedestrian detection and automatic braking capabilities. In daylight hours at a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour, the child-sized dummies were hit by the vehicles in almost nine out of 10 cases. The adult-sized dummies were hit by the vehicles in six out of 10 cases.

Pedestrian deaths in West Virginia

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that over the five years spanning 2014 through 2018, 25 pedestrians were killed in Kanawha County. These pedestrian deaths represented 18.5% of the county’s total vehicular fatalities during that time. Another 12 people on foot died in accidents in Raleigh and Monongalia Counties combined.

Pedestrians deserve compensation and assistance

Anyone involved in an accident as a pedestrian or anyone who has lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident should contact an attorney for help promptly. People in these situations deserve an experienced attorney who will advocate for their rights.

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