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What is behind the rise in fatal pedestrian accidents?

There are many reasons that people opt to walk to get from one point to another. Whether a person walks for exercise or transportation, it can be an important part of daily life. Hopefully, they can do so safely, but that isn't always the case.

Studies conducted over the last several years show rising rates of fatal pedestrian accidents. The state of Texas is the eighth most dangerous state for pedestrians. Experts say that there are many reasons for this rise and that no one solution alone will change the trajectory. 

Fatal pedestrian accident statistics

In 1999, over 4,100 pedestrians lost their lives to fatal traffic accidents across the United States. In just 10 years, the rate of pedestrian fatalities in urban centers went up by over two-thirds. Nationally, the number of fatalities was almost 6,300 in the same amount of time.

Experts report increases in the number of pedestrian fatalities tied to intoxicated driving and driving during nighttime hours. They also fear that the rates will continue to climb unless lawmakers and city planners take serious action. The year 2018 held the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in 28 years, and researchers expect an increase in the numbers for 2019.

Why is this happening?

Officials say that there are several reasons for these troubling numbers, but one of the biggest factors is roadway construction. Many planners prioritize cars over pedestrians, making roads that allow cars to travel faster and easier. Those same roads don't make allowances for people on foot.

If this was the only factor, it would be easier to address, but there are other reasons for the rise, according to officials. Distracted driving is a huge issue, as people find more reasons not to pay attention while driving. Passenger vehicles have grown in size, which means people are less likely to survive an accident with one. Even the rising rates of exercise and those who walk or bike to work mean higher rates of fatalities.

Can this problem be fixed?

Like with many problems, advocates say that increased funding for safer roads would mean a drop in pedestrian fatalities. Another idea is to change the way cars are made to improve the chance that a pedestrian would survive being hit by a car. Additionally, manufacturers can implement safety features in their vehicles to help stop an accident from happening altogether. Multiple approaches could help fatality rates drop dramatically, according to advocates.

No matter how a pedestrian accident happens, if it involves you or someone you love, you deserve justice. It is important to hold those responsible accountable for their action or inaction. It may be the first step on the path to healing in every sense of the word.

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