Understanding the Surge in Pedestrian Deaths

While it’s important for drivers across the globe to work on breaking bad driving habits to help make the roads safer, it’s equally important to focus on making pedestrian traffic safe too. Recently there has been a troubling increase in pedestrian fatalities. 

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian deaths in the United States reached a 30-year high in 2019, with more than 6,500 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes. This represents a 5% increase from the previous year and a 60% increase since 2009. Fast forward just a few years later and the number has increased to 7,508 pedestrians dead in 2022 due to traffic crashes.

Why is there such an uptick?

The GHSA suggests the increase is likely due to the result of unsafe driving habits. These include excessive speeding, impaired driving, and driving while distracted, all of which can lead to catastrophic crashes not just for those in the vehicle but also for pedestrians. The organization also indicates infrastructure is more conducive and safer for drivers rather than pedestrians.

Furthermore, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety uncovered alarming findings in their annual Traffic Safety Culture Index. More than half of the online survey respondents admitted to engaging in some form of risky behavior while driving in 2022. These behaviors included speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and even driving while impaired.

Are there other factors at play?

Another culprit likely contributing to the increase in pedestrian deaths is the growing prevalence of SUVs on the roads. Although passenger cars remain most likely to be involved in fatal pedestrian crashes, AAA data shows that the number of deaths involving SUVs surged by 120% from 2012-2021, compared to just 26% for cars. The rising popularity of SUVs is concerning because accidents involving SUVs and pedestrians tend to be more severe than those involving smaller cars.

Safety tips for pedestrians

Safety continues to be a top priority on the road and there are a few basic safety tips that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration point to enhance road safety for everyone. Pedestrians are encouraged to be predictable and follow the rules of the road, including obeying all signs and signals. They should utilize sidewalks and use crosswalks whenever possible, and if sidewalks are unavailable, walk facing oncoming traffic. When crossing outside of an intersection, it’s advised to do so in well-lit areas.

Remaining vigilant and avoiding distractions like electronic devices is critical. Pedestrians should strive to be visible at all times, especially during low-light conditions. Wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night can significantly enhance visibility, reducing the risk of accidents.

Help is available if you need it

In conclusion, pedestrian safety is paramount, and it requires the concerted effort of both drivers and pedestrians to prevent accidents and protect lives. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident on Long Island, you don’t need to navigate the legal complexities alone. 

With over 30 years of experience, Mark T. Freeley is a personal injury lawyer you can trust who prioritizes the safety and well-being of his clients and keeps them informed every step of the way. Contact Mark at 631-495-9435 or, and he will take the time to listen and speak with you.