Pedestrian deaths reached an alarming pinnacle of 7,500 fatalities nationwide in 2022, the highest number in more than 40 years, according to recent data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Over the last decade, the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents rose 77 percent, three times more than the 25 percent increase in all other traffic fatalities combined. Researchers attribute these chilling statistics to a variety of factors, including reckless driving behaviors exacerbated by the pandemic.
If you or a loved one is struck by a car and seriously injured, hiring an experienced pedestrian accident attorney is the best way to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.
Recommended reading: Do You Need A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault?
Traffic safety experts attribute the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths to several factors.
Growing number of SUVs and trucks on the road
More motorists are driving SUVs and trucks than ever before. In addition to being heavier than standard automobiles, these vehicles have higher front-end profiles that make it harder to see pedestrians. Additionally, if a truck or SUV strikes a pedestrian, the weight and height of the vehicle is more likely to cause serious or fatal injuries. increase
Accelerated reckless driving behaviors
Despite a decrease in traffic during and since the pandemic, fatal accidents rose 15 percent between 2019 and 2022. Safety experts attribute this rise to an increase in risky behaviors such as speeding, drunk/drugged driving and failing to wear seat belts. Unfortunately, many drivers are still engaging in these dangerous practices.
Surge in road rage and aggression
The isolation, fear and economic uncertainty brought about by Covid-19 caused higher levels of stress and anxiety for countless individuals. Unfortunately, many took their feelings out behind the wheel, leading to a rise in road rage incidents perpetrated by angry, aggressive drivers. And, although the worst of the pandemic has subsided, this dangerous driving trend has intensified.
Rise in distracted drivers and pedestrians
Like drivers, pedestrians can also fall prey to distractions, which can lead to disastrous consequences. For example, a person looking down at a cell phone may not see an oncoming car or a “Don’t Walk” signal in time to avoid being hit. In addition, headphones and ear buds can block out honking horns and other warning sounds. Furthermore, when both drivers and pedestrians are distracted, the risk of a serious accident increases significantly.
Infrastructure issues such as insufficient crosswalks
Numerous Michigan intersections and streets do not have crosswalks, making it dangerous for pedestrians to cross busy roadways. In addition, many drivers and pedestrians are not familiar with crosswalk rules, increasing the risk of a serious accident.
Poorly lit roads and intersections
Most fatal pedestrian accidents involving adults happen at night in areas without street lamps or other kinds of lighting.
Pedestrian deaths decreased in 2022 compared to the previous year. According to statistics from Michigan State Police, 173 pedestrians were killed last year in Michigan, a 5 percent decrease from the 173 pedestrian deaths reported in 2021. Nevertheless, there has been a significant increase in these fatalities since 2018, when 145 pedestrians died in Michigan traffic crashes.
Additionally, 2,026 pedestrians were involved in a total of 1,897 car accidents during 2022, an increase over 2021, when 1,891 pedestrians were involved in 1,790 crashes.
Furthermore, over the last decade, the number of pedestrians involved in auto accidents decreased 15 percent, while pedestrian fatalities rose an alarming 57 percent.
Recommended reading: What You Need To Know About Michigan Crosswalk Law
When a pedestrian is injured by an automobile, determining who is responsible can be challenging. Establishing fault typically involves several factors, such as who had the right of way.
If the person on foot has the right of way, the driver is responsible for the pedestrian car accident. However, it is not always clear which party had the right of way, in part because Michigan has no specific laws regarding the lawful use of crosswalks. Instead, most municipalities follow the Michigan Uniform Traffic Code. This statute allows pedestrians on the same half of the roadway as an approaching vehicle the right of way. Pedestrians who are walking lawfully and obeying traffic signals in a crosswalk also have the right of way.
However, if a pedestrian is partly responsible for an accident, a settlement may be reduced under Michigan’s “comparative negligence” statute.
Here are some examples where a pedestrian may be partially at fault:
Drivers who hit a pedestrian while engaging in the following behaviors are likely to be held responsible:
Michigan laws surrounding auto accidents and No-Fault insurance are complex. Therefore, it is wise to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney if you are injured by a motorist.
Recommended reading: 11 Reasons The Sam Bernstein Law Firm Has The Best Michigan Car Accident Lawyers
Behind the wheel:
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