Being a pedestrian around traffic in the Cleveland metro area can be dangerous, particularly when crossing roads in high-traffic areas. Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it has gotten worse. According to new data, Americans drove fewer miles last year, but there were still 6,721 pedestrian deaths. This was a 4.8% jump from 2019’s 6,412 in the number of pedestrian deaths and an unprecedented 21% jump in the number of pedestrian deaths per mile traveled. Here in Ohio, that number was 166 deaths and countless injuries in 2020.
This is nothing new
The 2020 jump in numbers was unprecedented, but this grim statistic has increased by 50% nationally over the last decade. This is in part due to distracted drivers using their devices behind the wheel. But the increase also coincides with the increasing numbers of pick-up trucks, SUVs and large vehicles, which cause more injuries and deaths. The reasons include:
- Larger vehicles are harder to control
- Higher vehicle profiles make it harder to see pedestrians
- Higher vehicle profiles impact pedestrian bodies rather than legs
A separate report conducted by Governors Highway Safety Association in 2019 found that nighttime deaths shot up 67% from 2009 to 2018. Deaths occurring during the day were up 16% in that period. Now, about three-quarters of all pedestrian deaths happen when it’s dark out. Based on these numbers, pedestrians accounted for 17% of all road deaths, up from 12% in 2009.
Victims can get the help they need
Pedestrian victims and their families can often hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions, even in cases where the pedestrian may also be partially at fault. A collision between a motor vehicle and an individual on foot nearly always involves more severe injury to the pedestrian.
Victims and their families may wish to contact an attorney to pursue a hit by car claim to cover the victim’s medical expenses, time away from work, and emotional harm. It almost goes without saying that those hit by a driver should first seek medical help to document the injuries, even if the injuries did not seem severe at the time.