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How safe are pedestrians on Houston roads?

Texas car accident attorney

According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there were 4,414 pedestrian fatalities across the United States in 2008 — accounting for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities. By 2017, that number rose to 5,977 or 16 percent. Overall, the rate of pedestrian deaths has risen by 35 percent, while other traffic fatalities have dropped by six percent during the same period.

Preliminary data shows that the pedestrian fatality rate continued to rise during the first half of 2018. It was first determined that the rise in pedestrian deaths had slowed down significantly in 2018, but once the GHSA began factoring in underreported incidents, there was a four percent increase from 2017. By the end of 2018, a total of 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads.

Here are some other important facts and figures:

  • 75% of all pedestrian deaths happened at night
  • 35% happened on local streets, 25% on state highways, and 16% on U.S. highways
  • 72% occurred on roadways without an intersection, 18% at intersections

Where are most of the pedestrian fatalities happening?

From 2017-2018, 25 states saw increases in pedestrian fatalities, 23 states saw decreases, and only two states saw no difference. During the first half of 2018, New Hampshire had the least number of pedestrian deaths (only 1), while California had the most (432).

Roughly 46 percent of all nationwide pedestrian fatalities happened in these five states: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.

From January-June of 2017, approximately 266 pedestrians were killed in Texas. During the same period in 2018, Texas had 32 more pedestrian deaths, accounting for a 12 percent increase. In addition, Texas was ranked the third deadliest state in the nation for pedestrians.

What's driving the uptick in pedestrian deaths?

Currently, there are simply too many factors related to pedestrian deaths to pinpoint just one cause. Some analysts point to America's roadway infrastructure that tends to favor high-speed traffic over walkability. This is often due to:

  • Wide arterial roads with multiple lanes and little time for pedestrians to cross
  • Residential streets and avenues with multiple lanes
  • Poorly designed intersections
  • Poor communities with crumbling roadway infrastructure, as well as a lack of walking areas, crosswalks, and signs

Other analysts suggest that the growing popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks are the culprits behind a lower rate of survivability in pedestrian crashes. The GHSA says that from 2013-2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs had risen by 50 percent. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, pedestrians are more likely to sustain fatal injuries at a much greater rate than with smaller passenger cars.

We can help you after a pedestrian accident

Distracted driving is also a leading factor in the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths. Under Texas law, drivers are prohibited from sending or receiving texts while driving. Distracted driving has been on the rise in recent years due to an increase in cellphone use. Even when drivers comply with the statewide texting and driving ban, other forms of distraction can put pedestrians at risk — including eating, drinking, taking care of personal hygiene, tuning a radio, talking to passengers, or using a built-in infotainment system.

If you were injured after being struck by a negligent driver, or lost a loved one in a pedestrian crash, don't hesitate to take legal action. The attorneys at Tracey & Fox see, far too often, how devastating pedestrian crashes can be. Those who survive often sustain serious, and sometimes permanent, injuries.

That's why we're dedicated to fighting for the rights of pedestrians and holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. To find out how we can help you, contact us online today.

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