It’s easy to assume that roads are getting safer. After all, modern cars have safety features that earlier cars lacked.
Unfortunately, the opposite trend is at work for pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities are at their highest levels in 30 years and Pennsylvania is leading the way. Why is this happening? And what can people do about it?
A Scary Trend
While pedestrian deaths are generally rising throughout the country, some states have experienced much larger spikes in recent years. Pennsylvania is one of them. During the first half of 2018, pedestrians in Pennsylvania were killed at a rate 41% higher than the previous year, which was equaled in only a handful of places throughout the country. While the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is committed to reducing this trend, much work remains.
Why Is This Happening?
Experts believe several factors are to blame for the steady rise of pedestrian fatalities. Among them:
- Distracted driving, including cell phone use
- An increase in SUV ownership
- Alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses
SUVs in particular have been singled out. While their high ground clearance may make it easier for the driver to see, it also makes collisions far more dangerous for pedestrians — serious abdominal and organ injuries are much more likely.
How Can Pedestrians Stay Safe?
Most pedestrian fatalities — more than 90% — occur at night. Thus, it makes sense to take extra precautions when walking at these times. Some effective measures include:
- Wearing light-colored or reflective clothing
- Staying in well-lit areas
- Only crossing in designated intersections
- Staying alert for erratic drivers
Of course, these precautions will only go so far; sometimes you can’t avoid an accident. Collisions with pedestrians often lead to catastrophic injuries, which can permanently change your life. In this situation, a seasoned attorney should be your first contact. Some injuries can never be reversed. However, you can often recover the compensation you need to remain financially stable.