Pedestrian Deaths Soar to Highest Levels in Four Decades
A report highlights the dangers pedestrians face when drivers are negligent.
Nationwide, pedestrian accident fatalities have reached an alarming four-decade high, painting a grim picture of the current state of pedestrian safety in the United States. Recent findings from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) highlight the problem and emphasize the shared responsibility all drivers have in keeping pedestrians safe.
Alarming rise in pedestrian deaths
Each year, the GHSA conducts a thorough study based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Shockingly, 7,508 pedestrians lost their lives in accidents across the country last year, marking the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in a single year since 1981.
Equally concerning is the fact that this is not an isolated incident. Pedestrian fatalities have seen a staggering 77 percent increase since 2010, with a 19 percent surge between 2019 and 2022 alone.
Nebraska pedestrian accident statistics
Among the states grappling with a significant rise in pedestrian fatalities, Nebraska stands out. In 2022, Nebraska witnessed a 60 percent increase in pedestrian deaths compared to the previous year, with 24 fatalities.
To put this in perspective, this marks the highest number of pedestrian deaths recorded in the state over the past decade, according to NHTSA data.
Understanding the causes of pedestrian accidents
Drinking and driving is the main contributing factor in 19 percent of pedestrian accident deaths, according to the GHSA. "Drunk driving remains a pervasive highway safety threat to all road users," the GHSA wrote in its recent pedestrian accident report.
Speeding drivers are another major cause of pedestrian accidents. Specifically, 8 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur due to speeding drivers, the GHSA reports. "The faster a vehicle is traveling, the higher the risk of it killing someone it strikes," the GHSA says.
As for distracted driving, everything from texting while driving, talking on a cell phone, looking up directions while driving, or eating while driving all consistently result in accidents involving pedestrians legally crossing the street or walking alongside the road.
Preventing pedestrian accidents
Road safety experts have proposed various solutions to mitigate the number of pedestrian accidents:
- Educating drivers about the hazards pedestrians face on the road.
- Designing roads with pedestrian safety in mind, ensuring the presence of sidewalks.
- Enhancing lighting at intersections and crosswalks, particularly in pedestrian-heavy areas or locations with a history of accidents.
- Reducing speed limits in areas where pedestrian accidents frequently occur due to speeding.
- Increasing law enforcement efforts to combat speeding, drunk driving, and texting while driving.
Pedestrian accident claims can be complex
In pedestrian accident cases, insurance companies may employ tactics to downplay or deny a claim, aiming to minimize their financial responsibility.
One common approach is questioning the victim's actions leading up to the accident. To shift liability onto the victim, the insurance company for the at-fault driver may try to argue that the pedestrian was not paying attention, crossing against the signal, or behaving recklessly.
Another strategy involves disputing the severity of the injuries sustained, suggesting that they are not as severe as claimed or attributing them to pre-existing conditions.
To counter these tactics, a pedestrian accident victim can consult with an experienced attorney who can build a strong case, gather compelling evidence, and hold the insurance company accountable.
Contact an Omaha pedestrian accident lawyer today
At Ausman Law Firm P.C., L.L.O., our attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve.
Put your trust in a law firm that will prioritize your best interests. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our office is in Omaha, and we handle injury claims for clients throughout Nebraska.