The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently reported auto accidents resulted in almost 6,000 pedestrians' deaths in 2017. The federal agency notes that this is the second year in a row that pedestrian deaths have reached a 25-year high.
Why is there an increase in pedestrian deaths? It seems to go against common sense. After all, cars are smarter now. Why would we see an increase in the rate of pedestrian deaths with more safety technology in our vehicles?
Although the report does not delve into an exact reason for this increase, the GHSA does point to two factors as likely contributors: smart phones and legalized marijuana. Smart phones can cause distraction, as can the use of marijuana. This can increase the risk of an accident if either the driver or the pedestrian is using a smartphone or marijuana.
What about the family that loses a loved one due to a pedestrian accident? It is important to note that the family of a pedestrian killed in a car accident may have legal recourse against the driver. Drivers are required to operate their vehicles with a degree of care. A failure to do so can lead to liability.
A driver that is distracted by a smartphone has not met this duty. This could serve as evidence to build a case against the driver. This case could result in compensation to help the family heal after the loss of a loved one. Compensation that can be used to help cover medical expenses and funeral costs as well as the lost wages of the loved one that would have been used towards family expenses.
What is being done to stop this trend? Ultimately, the report calls for new strategies to address this trend and increased enforcement efforts. The GHSA also points out engineering efforts that could lead to new design methods for streets that may further reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents.