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After upward trend over 3 years, pedestrian deaths show decline

Did you know that the first year for which we started compiling and tracking U.S. pedestrian deaths is 1975? That first year of data showed that 7,516 died in 1975, a shocking number when you consider current figures and the fact that we had a much smaller population back then. In 2009, we set the all-time low for pedestrian deaths in the U.S. with 4,109 pedestrian fatalities. The vast improvement of car safety and infrastructure has certainly helped curb the pedestrian fatality figure.

However, the dramatic drop in pedestrian deaths over this 35-year period has taken a dramatic U-turn in the past few years. Since that all-time low in 2009, pedestrian deaths had been increasing in the U.S. at an annual average rate of nearly 5 percent.

But another U-turn has seen pedestrian deaths drop in the first half of 2013 when compared to the first half of 2012. The 8.7 drop in pedestrian deaths is a pleasant surprise for safety officials, but they admit they can’t explain the decline.

Even when you consider the all-time low from 2009, the number of pedestrians who died is still way too high. In some collisions that involve pedestrians, the incident is labeled an “accident” and little or no fault is assigned to the driver. Then the pedestrian and his or her loved ones need to consider a wrongful death lawsuit to help them earn the compensation they need to get through this painful time.

Of course, never having the accident in the first place is far better than having to file a wrongful death suit to earn justice. Hopefully, officials will soon understand the drop in pedestrian deaths so that they can take action and protect innocent people walking on the road or near roads.

Source: Forbes, “Pedestrian Deaths Down In First Half of 2013, Report Says,” Tanya Mohn, March 5, 2014