The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that October is pedestrian safety month. Unfortunately it appears that never has pedestrian safety awareness been more important than this year. In 2020, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that the U.S. reported the larges increase of fatal pedestrian accidents in a single year. The group points to dangerous driving habits like speeding and driving while intoxicated as the likely culprits.
What does this mean?
The group states that there were 6,721 pedestrian deaths in 2020. When taking into account the decrease in driving due to the pandemic, the GHSA projects that this was an “unprecedented 21% increase” over the previous year.
Ultimately, the organization calls the problem a public health emergency — one that requires immediate action.
How can we reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents?
Both pedestrians and drivers can take steps to reduce the risk of an accident. The NHTSA encourages pedestrians to stay alert, use crosswalks and choose clothing and flashlights when needed to help increase visibility. The federal agency also encourages drivers to look for pedestrians, follow the speed limit and use extra caution when backing up.
But that is not all. Action on a larger scale is also needed. The GHSA is calling on national and state leaders to mitigate these deaths and has put together a national safety conference to discuss strategies that can help address the problem. This could include better road design and police enforcement along with federal funds to achieve these goals.
It is also important to hold those who cause accidents responsible for their mistakes. A personal injury claim can help achieve this goal if the accident results in the death or serious injury of a pedestrian or cyclist.