Pedestrians often include children, joggers, parents pushing strollers and many other individuals who deserve safe roads. Unfortunately, that's not always what they get. Reports have shown that the number of pedestrian deaths in the United States has risen recently, even at times when other traffic fatality statistics have fallen.
For instance, from 2016 to 2017, the number of traffic deaths in the United States fell slightly. However, from 2009 to 2016, the number of pedestrians deaths soared by a staggering 46%. In 2016, officials found that about 15 pedestrians passed away every single day. The following year, it went up to 16 people every day. That may seem like a small increase, but it represents hundreds of fatalities during the year.
Why are things getting worse?
Perhaps more concerning than the actual number is the overall trend. We're at a point where cars just keep getting safer. New technologies help drivers avoid pedestrians and accidents. They keep passengers safe. They help pedestrians know when and how to cross the road safely.
In short, everything keeps moving toward safer vehicles and safer roads, at least from a technological standpoint. That should mean that fewer people die every year. As the numbers increase, we have to ask what we are doing wrong and why things are getting worse.
One potential reason is the rise of distracted driving. Above, you can see the stark increase from 2009 to 2016. It's perhaps not a coincidence that, over the same period of time, smartphones became vastly more popular than they have ever been before. Could more pedestrians get hit by drivers who are not looking at the road? Would those same drivers have paid more attention and avoided those accidents in, say, 1995?
That's one issue with technology. Yes, it can make the roads safer. Technological developments can protect pedestrians. Cars can get better and more advanced. But you have two sides to technology. Right now, it could be that the positive changes get washed out by the increase in dangerous road distractions, raising the risks even in safer vehicles.
It is also worth noting that pedestrians can get distracted while crossing the road. A pedestrian who is texting, talking on the phone, listening to music on headphones or checking social media may not notice traffic dangers that appear obvious to an outsider. Of course, that doesn't mean the pedestrian is at fault in that accident just because they did not notice a driver's mistake.
If you get injured in an accident or if you lose a loved one to a distracted driver, make sure you know all of the rights in Louisiana you may have to financial compensation.