Hundreds of Pedestrians Still Die Each Year: Here Are 3 Common Causes

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How many people die because of pedestrian accidents? Answer: thousands. In 2018 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identified over 6,000 deaths. That’s an increase of over 2.5% compared to the previous year. In 2017, at least one perished every 88 minutes.

The figures don’t account for the hundreds of pedestrians who suffer from personal injuries, some of which are severe enough that result in permanent disability.

But what are the common causes of pedestrian crashes? Would they warrant help from professionals like a personal injury lawyer?

Who Is a Pedestrian?

Before you proceed to the list of common causes, it’s best to identify the pedestrians. According to the NHTSA, everyone is a pedestrian. However, a more specific definition says that a pedestrian includes:

  • People who walk, run, or bike on the streets
  • Those who use pedestrian crossings
  • Anyone who doesn’t use a motored vehicle
  • People with disabilities and traveling in wheelchairs and walkers

Common Causes of Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths

These individuals can meet an accident because of:

1. Speeding


Speeding remains one of the most common causes of traffic accidents, some of which involved pedestrians. Over the last two decades, it accounted for over 30% of motor vehicle deaths. In 2017, 26% of traffic-related fatalities, according to the NHSTA. In Utah, speeding killed at least 111 people.

People, including pedestrians, are more likely to die or get injured from speeding than drunk driving or failure to keep in the proper lane.

Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization, there’s a correlation between speed and the risk of survival for pedestrians. The chance of living after an accident could be 90% if the vehicle traveled for 30 kilometers per hour or less.

However, that decreased to 50% once the speed increased to 45 kilometers per hour. It would be almost zero if the car’s speed reached 80 kilometers an hour.

2. Mobile Use

Distracted driving is becoming one of the common causes of road accidents. In 2015, it was responsible for 15% of injury crashes and 10% of fatalities, based on the NHTSA data.

Of the many distractions a driver experiences, a typical culprit is mobile use. Studies showed that it could have caused over 25% of car crashes in 2015.

Note, though, that pedestrians can also suffer injuries or die because of excessive mobile phone use. Take, for example, walking down the street, eyes on the phone, without paying attention to vehicles or even other pedestrians.

3. Disobedience of Road Rules

Disobedience of road rules can occur both ways. Drivers, for instance, might suddenly turn in the wrong intersection or beat the red light. Speeding violates road safety, along with distracted driving.

However, pedestrians can also commit the same mistake. Jaywalking is a perennial problem, especially in urban areas. It involves crossing outside a marked crosswalk, walking against a walk signal for pedestrians, or running outside the designated pathways for pedestrians.

About 5,000 of traffic crashes where pedestrians either got hurt or died were because of:

  • Standing in the middle of parked cars
  • Jogging or walking in the wrong direction
  • Failure to yield

Pedestrians who meet an accident can sue for both criminal charges and civil claims like personal injury. However, one should remember that road safety is everyone’s responsibility: law enforcement, motorists, and pedestrians. Anyone who neglects their duty can increase the risk of road-related injury or fatality.

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