The National Highway Safety Administration just released its report compiling data on fatal motor vehicle accidents since 2008. The news is not good. While fatal injuries to passengers inside vehicles is on the decline, the rate of pedestrian fatalities and those outside of vehicles has skyrocketed.
In Alabama, the number of pedestrian deaths is up 60%, more than any other state. Officials want to understand why more pedestrians are involved in fatal accidents. In some cases, motorists get out of their vehicles after an accident or a breakdown. They may assume other drivers see them, but this is not always the case, especially at night. Last year, 76% of fatal pedestrian accidents occurred after dark, which is a 5% increase over the previous year’s national data.
While the statistics account for tragic events where lives were lost, it does not include those whose lives were changed forever because of catastrophic injuries. Unlike a passenger in a vehicle, a pedestrian has no protection from the impact of a motor vehicle. While more than half of pedestrian accidents could be avoided if pedestrians used more caution, many pedestrians die because drivers are impaired, speeding, or distracted.
With Daylight Saving Time approaching, pedestrians can expect their surroundings to get darker sooner, so extra caution is important. Nevertheless, even the most cautious walk can end in tragedy if a driver neglects to pay attention. In such cases, those who suffer injuries, or the families of victims of pedestrian fatalities, often find comfort in seeking justice through the civil courts.