Walking is a great way to keep in shape, which is why you prioritize traveling by foot. Or perhaps you are like many other people in Louisiana and do not own a car, so you rely on walking and public transportation to get where you need to go. Regardless of the reason why you choose to walk, it is important to understand that you are at risk for serious and even fatal injuries. The number of fatal pedestrian accidents has been steadily increasing, and the problem is worse than some might think.
The United States hit a new record in 2018, but it is not one of which most people would be proud. In that year, the number of pedestrian fatalities hit a 30-year high, tallying a total of 6,227 deaths. There are a number of factors contributing to these skyrocketing figures, and understanding those factors could be helpful when it comes to staying safe while walking.
Transportation not designed for people
Growing cities need new and expanded infrastructure systems to accommodate increases in population. However, the officials and planners behind these infrastructure projects usually leave pedestrians as an afterthought if they remember them at all. As a result, there are a large number of cities and towns built almost exclusively for motor vehicle travel. There are even areas where crosswalks stagger upward of two miles apart.
In these situations, it is easy for drivers and the general public to blame pedestrians for accidents. The reality is that some people do not have the time or even the physical endurance to walk the additional distance to another crosswalk. Even for those who can, research has shown that the average pedestrian will only travel about 300 feet in order to reach a crosswalk.
SUVs and smartphones -- a deadly combination
Consumers have been buying more SUVs than smaller passenger vehicles since 2013. SUVs are bigger and heavier than cars, which gives some consumers a sense of safety when behind the wheel. However, the features that protect drivers and passengers are also deadly for pedestrians. Pedestrians are more likely to die in accidents involving SUVs than in those involving cars.
These accidents can be especially deadly when smartphone use is involved. Drivers are using cellular data an astounding 4,000% more than in 2008. This means that many drivers have their eyes on a phone instead of the road. If a driver is looking at his or her phone instead of the road, there might not be enough time to apply the brakes in order to avoid collision or at least minimize damage.
You deserve to feel safe
Whether you walk because of enjoyment or necessity, you should be able to travel by foot without fear of injury or death. Sadly, the design of most cities and towns simply didn't have pedestrians in mind, and a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks makes it difficult to get around.
Even pedestrians who do their very best to stay safe can still end up involved in fatal pedestrian accidents. If you lost a loved one in one of these accidents, you are probably experiencing a lot of confusion and worry that can get in the way of your grieving process. If you need help figuring out how to achieve justice on behalf of your loved one, an experienced attorney can help explain the process of pursuing a wrongful death claim.