When a pedestrian is involved in an automobile accident, the results are often fatal. For this reason, many cities have taken significant measures to improve pedestrian safety. Despite those efforts, many parts of the country are still experiencing a rise in pedestrian auto accident deaths and the overall national average has continued to increase. Even more concerning is that 2015 proved to be the most fatal year of all.
An In-Depth Look at the Statistics
Ever since the establishment of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the year-to-year increase of pedestrian deaths has averaged between 8.1 percent increase and a 10.5 percent decrease. Then the statistics for 2015 came in and showed that 15 percent of pedestrians died in traffic-related accidents; that equals a 10 percent increase overall, which is the biggest increase ever recorded. Not all states performed poorly, however. In fact, 21 states had a decrease in pedestrian deaths, and three states had no change. It is these states that may offer some explanation.
Examining Why Pedestrian Deaths Are Increasing
There was a time when pedestrians ruled the road. Then automobiles became the “wave of the future,” a faster and more sensible form of travel and the number of vehicles on the road decreased as the number of pedestrians decreased. It is possible that, over time, drivers forgot what it was like to travel by foot and maybe even failed to consider the potential dangers they posed to those that still needed or wanted to walk. And that, as builders created roads for drivers, they forgot to take into account the vulnerability of pedestrians. Add in the fast-paced, plugged-in, distracted lives we lead, and pedestrians may literally be suffering from a trifecta of issues.
These are all speculations, of course, but it is through an examination of those possibilities that the country can work toward possible solutions. Many states and cities have done so – some with quite a bit of success. Let's take a look at how.
Possible Solutions Offered by Pedestrian-Friendly Cities
The city of Seattle is home to 662,400 people. It was also declared the safest cities for pedestrians by Liberty Mutual. Their efforts, which have included a reduction of speed limits within the city, the addition of more signs and crosswalks, and constant efforts and discussions regarding when and how to improve, have led to a 23 percent reduction in collisions over the course of just one year and a 60 percent decrease in the number of motorists traveling over the speed limit. And all of this has happened, despite the fact that traffic volumes have remained roughly the same.
New York City, also considered one of the safest cities for pedestrians, has one of the largest pedestrian populations in the country. They have worked hard to ensure safety through numerous traffic calming projects, stronger city regulations, education campaigns, improved street markings and signage, and an expanded network of cameras to monitor traffic. All in all, they have boasted the lowest number of annual traffic deaths since 1910.
So what do these two cities have in common? They have regulators and city commissions that are taking an active role in monitoring, addressing, and improving problematic areas. They are making improvements when and where necessary, have increased regulations, and they are educating the public constantly and consistently. In other words, the solution is not just a single or minor change; it is a constant evolution, with constant monitoring, and requires constant reminding that each pedestrian death is a life lost – a brother, a sister, a mother, a father . . . someone's loved one.
Pedestrian Injury or Fatality? You May Be Due Compensation
Pedestrians who are involved automobile accidents are likely to have expensive medical bills, lost income, and maybe even final expenses. They and their families should not have to cover these costs alone, but their cases against insurance companies or non-insured individuals are often complex. As a result, they may lose out on compensation that is owed to them.
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