Pedestrian accidents claim the lives of thousands of individuals each year. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related events in 2017. This works out to about one pedestrian death every 88 minutes. Initial estimates for 2018 by the Governor’s Highway Association show that pedestrian accident fatalities increased to about 6,200 last year, the highest number of fatalities since 1990.
The GHA lists several reasons why pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in recent years:
- Increased Foot Traffic: Simply put, more people are walking than in years past. This is due to several factors; including an increase in the overall population, a more health-conscious society, and more people choosing to use public transportation to get to work. This has translated into about a 4% increase in foot traffic during the past decade.
- More Motorists Driving SUVs: As the price of fuel has dropped, the number of consumers driving SUVs has increased. Today, SUVs are the top-selling type of passenger vehicle on the market. This is significant, because these types of vehicles are wider and heavier, and when they collide with a pedestrian, there is a greater risk of a serious injuries or fatalities.
- Poor Driving Habits: Another major contributor to the rise in pedestrian accidents is driver negligence. Behaviors like speeding, aggressive/reckless driving, drowsy driving, and driving while intoxicated are still big problems, and a growing concern is the increased use of smartphones, resulting in more motorists sending texts while driving and engaging in similar forms of distracted driving.
Pedestrian Accidents During the Summer Months
All types of traffic-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities increase during the summertime, including pedestrian accidents. There are a number of reasons why this occurs:
- More Inexperienced Drivers on the Road: With the kids out of school, teens have more time on their hands, which means they spend more time driving. Because teen drivers are be less experienced than older drivers, they tend to make poorer driving decisions that heighten the chances of an accident.
- More People Taking Vacation Road Trips: In addition to the increase in teen drivers, summer means an overall increase in traffic as many families plan their vacations and take their road trips during the summer months.
- Increased Alcohol Use: During the summertime, there are many festivals, concerts, parties, and other events that involve alcohol. Unfortunately, increased alcohol use causes more people to make the very poor and often fateful decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
- More Pedestrian Traffic: During the warmer months, there are more people out walking. In particular, people in humid climates like what we have here in Alabama enjoy going out for a walk during the evening hours when it is cooler and starting to get dark. This makes pedestrians more difficult for motorists to see.
- Increased Road Construction: Most road construction projects are planned for the summer months. Road construction means more traffic and congestion, and for pedestrians, it may also mean having to sacrifice sidewalk space and walk more closely to nearby vehicles.
- Greater Chance of Vehicle Malfunctions: When the temperatures rise, so do the chances of problems with vehicles. The greatest danger overheating poses with regards to accidents is with the tires. Heat causes the air in your tires to expand, which can result in a tire blowout, particularly if your tires are of substandard quality or the tread is worn thin.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Alabama? Call the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Burge & Burge
During the summer months, pedestrian accidents tend to increase. If you or someone close to you was injured by a motor vehicle while walking and it was the driver’s fault, you may be eligible for compensation. At Burge & Burge, we have over five decades of combined experience successfully representing pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclist, motorists, and all others who have suffered personal injuries in Alabama. We work closely with our clients, and we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and dedication to help ensure that our clients receive the full and fair compensation they need and deserve.
For a free consultation and case assessment with one of our seasoned attorneys, call us today at 205-251-9000. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Birmingham office in person at your convenience.