If it seems to you that walking has become a dangerous mode of transportation, you are right. It has. As a pedestrian, you face a greater risk than ever before of being hit by vehicles that fail to give you the right-of-way to which the law entitles you.
According to a recent FindLaw report, pedestrian deaths hit a 30-year high in 2019, and even more such deaths occurred in 2020.
Pedestrian fatality statistics
FindLaw based its report on data compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Commission, which revealed the following:
- S. pedestrian deaths decreased between 1979 and 2009 when they suddenly began trending upward.
- They increased by 50% overall between 2009 and 2019.
- During this period, daytime fatalities increased by 16%, while nighttime fatalities increased by 67%.
- In 2019, pedestrian fatalities reached their then highest number in 30 years.
- In 2020, however, they increased by 21% over 2019.
Experts theorize that this alarming trend has several causes, including the following:
- Smartphone usage began skyrocketing in 2009.
- Relatively inexpensive gas prices between 2009 and just this year allowed more drivers to choose SUVs and trucks as their preferred vehicles.
- In 2019, 16% of all drivers involved in a vehicle-pedestrian crash resulting in death had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.
- In 2019, 33% of all pedestrians killed had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.
While today’s rapidly rising gas prices may decrease the number of people driving — drunk, impaired, distracted or otherwise — the message is still clear: stay sober, alert and vigilant whenever and wherever you walk, especially at night.