Californians may be interested in a new Governors Highway Safety Association report that reveals that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. last year. That makes 2018 the deadliest year for pedestrians since 6,482 died in 1990. Pedestrian deaths were at an all-time low just a decade ago, but they have risen by a worrying 51.5 percent since 1990 and now account for 16 percent of all road fatalities. Groups like the GHSA have raised concerns about rising rates of driver impairment and the dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. The association's report suggests that distraction and intoxication are a factor in many pedestrian accidents.
The GHSA study reveals that more than 90 percent of the pedestrians killed in 2018 died in accidents that took place after dark. Driver distraction is even more dangerous at night when peripheral vision is compromised. Drunk drivers are also a bigger threat to pedestrians at night. According to the report, alcohol was found in the blood of about half of the drivers involved fatal pedestrian accidents in 2018.
Experts worry that the roads could get even more dangerous for pedestrians in the coming years. Large SUVs and pickup truck sales have surged in recent years and now account for 60 percent of all passenger vehicle sales in America. This is bad news for pedestrians because studies suggest that SUVs and other vehicles with high front ends are twice as likely as cars to kill the pedestrians.
Impaired drivers who strike and kill pedestrians are often charged with crimes like vehicular manslaughter. However, that does not mean that the dependent family members of such victims are unable to pursue wrongful death lawsuits. An experienced personal injury attorney could help the family of a victim obtain compensation for damages.