The Pedestrian Death Rate Has Nearly Increased by Half in the Past Ten Years
Throughout 2020, people in South Carolina and elsewhere stayed home and anxiously watched the news as reports of more and more deaths from COVID-19 dominated the headlines. Meanwhile, another danger was lurking, claiming more lives than it had the previous year, and nearly one and a half times as many as it had a decade earlier. Specifically, the number of pedestrians who died after being hit by cars increased at a much higher rate than the total number of traffic accident fatalities. It is easy to imagine how fragile the human body is compared to a big steel machine like a car or SUV, but you cannot imagine the physical and emotional trauma of getting hit by a car unless it has happened to you or someone close to you. If you are suffering from the physical, emotional, and financial devastation of a pedestrian traffic accident, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer.
Safer Cars, but Safer for Whom?
According to a report on the National Public Radio website, the pedestrian death rate, which is the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents per miles driven, increased by 20 percent between 2019 and 2020, and it went up 46 percent from 2010 through 2019. Meanwhile, cars have become safer, at least in theory. SUVs have only increased in popularity during this time, and accidents where an SUV strikes a pedestrian are more likely to be fatal than those where a pedestrian gets hit by a smaller car. Vehicle safety testing regulations do not require tests to see how protection, if any, the vehicle offers pedestrians in the event of a collision.
The Role of Pandemic-Related Risky Driving Behaviors
2020 will go down in history as the year when people spent more time at home than in any other year in recent memory. One of the few forms of recreation available, even at the time when in-person business activities were the most heavily restricted, was going for walks outside. Meanwhile, since there were fewer cars on the road, there was less traffic to stop the drivers from speeding. Higher driving speeds mean a higher risk of accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries.
The Most Vulnerable Pedestrians
It isn’t just the heavier cars and the excessive speed that contributed to the increased pedestrian death rate; infrastructure also plays a role. A disproportionate number of fatal pedestrian accidents took place in areas with no sidewalks. People who walk to and from work had a greater risk of becoming pedestrian accident victims. The percentage of pedestrian accident victims who were Black, Hispanic or Latino, or Native American was higher than the percentage represented by those demographic groups in the total population.
Let Us Help You Today
A Columbia car accident lawyer can help you recover damages to cover your accident-related expenses if you got injured when a car hit you while you were walking. Contact The Stanley Law Group for a consultation.