The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released its data on pedestrian traffic fatalities from 2015. The Association notes an overall increase in deaths, though a state by state analysis finds increases in some settings and decreases in others. They have also reported on various attempts to mitigate the problem through separation, visibility, and vehicle speed reduction.
The GHSA reports a 10% increase in pedestrian fatalities compared to the previous year, building on the 19% increase from 2009 to 2014. This means that the largest percentage of traffic fatalities were reported last year compared to all of the past 25 years. Additionally, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of all traffic fatalities has increased from 11% in 2005-2007 to 15% in 2014. In 2015, that number may have risen to 15%, marking the first time in 25 years that rates of pedestrian deaths are so comparatively high.
Twenty-six states saw increases in pedestrian fatalities (compared to 21 with decreases). New York’s rate of pedestrian fatalities was 1.33 per 100k population. Together with California, Florida, and Texas, New York accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the country.
Strategies to reduce pedestrian traffic fatalities
The GHSA also outlined several strategies to reduced pedestrian traffic fatalities, including three “evidence-based strategies” implemented in locations throughout the US: separating pedestrians from motor vehicles, making pedestrians more visible, and reducing vehicle speed.
The first category includes constructing refuge islands, constructing sidewalks and pedestrian overpasses or underpasses, optimized traffic signal timing, and new traffic signals. The second category includes better lighting, more visible crosswalks, and rectangular rapid-flashing beacons (RRFBs) added to pedestrian crossing signs. And the third category includes areas in the roadway designated for cyclists, for turning, or for other specific uses, roundabouts, speed humps and curb extensions, and additional speed enforcement measures.
The state of New York will be introducing its PSP (pedestrian safety plan) later in 2016. The plan will include education efforts, engineering upgrades, and law enforcement strategies designed to increase pedestrian safety. There have also been particular areas in the state that have received special attention. For instance, the Village of Saugerties saw a recent increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Authorities worked to upgrade traffic signals and other amenities to combat the problem; they also introduced safety patrols and other measures to help to keep pedestrians safe.
Legal rights following a pedestrian knock down
Pedestrian accident victims have a legal right to seek compensation from the party that hit them if a driver displayed such reckless behaviors as speeding through a crosswalk or driving while distracted. Pedestrians should be able to cross the street safety, especially in designated crosswalks. An investigation can determine whether a motorist was at fault by failing to yield to a pedestrian in a way that resulted in an injury or fatality. Accident victims or their families can file a lawsuit to recover medical or rehabilitation expenses, lost wages or earning potential, wrongful death expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
If you’ve been harmed because of the negligent or reckless behavior of a driver, please contact the attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye to discuss your options for filing a car accident lawsuit. Call today at 1-800-469-7429 to set up a free case review.