Pedestrian Deaths Increase During Pandemic

May 21, 2021

pandemic causes more pedestrian accident deaths Pittsburgh, PA

Last month, we shared sobering statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that highlighted the ongoing increase in traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, we’re here to report on another tragic uptick. According to statistics reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths per billion miles driven increased by 21% in 2020.

Read more: Rate of Traffic Deaths Still Climbing, According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation

With the winter season firmly in our rearview mirror and summer only a few short weeks away, it’s important to be aware of why these pedestrian accidents are happening and how you can stay safe next time you or your loved ones are out for a leisurely walk around town. 

Pedestrian Accidents Hit Record High

According to the report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association in May of 2021, the U.S. saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1989. But what caused this significant increase? 

In the early months of the pandemic, many Pennsylvania residents as well as those from across the country started walking as a form of exercise and recreational activity. Studies echo this sentiment as 27 states saw an increase in fatal pedestrian accidents as the pandemic unfolded. Richard Retting, a driving safety expert at Sam Schwartz Consulting, said the increase is “…mind-boggling and hard to understand.” 

This is especially true considering that the average number of miles driven decreased by 13.2 percent over the course of the pandemic. 

Pennsylvania’s Numbers

Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania has actually seen a decrease in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents by six percent. While that may sound like a decent decrease, we’re not exactly out of the woods quite yet. 

Studies show that this decrease only dropped from 154 pedestrian deaths in 2019 to 145 in 2020. While even one life lost to a pedestrian accident is too many, these numbers show that a lot of work still needs to be done to make our streets safer for pedestrians.

What’s Causing the Increase?

Like with motor vehicle accidents, many experts have been citing reckless habits as one of the main causes of this disturbing increase. With fewer cars on the road, many drivers looked at it as an opportunity to speed and indulge in other reckless behaviors such as drinking and driving or talking or texting on their cell phones. According to Mr. Retting, “15% of drivers involved in pedestrian accidents are legally drunk.” 

In an effort to combat these fatalities, experts have urged state officials to implement more speed cameras at intersections. Per Mr. Retting, “…speed cameras work. And one positive is they don’t see race and they don’t see gender. They just see speed.”

The biggest conundrum, according to Mr. Retting, is figuring out how to “break the cycle of poor behavior.” He concluded, “I think we’d be deluding ourselves if we don’t recognize the seriousness of this.”

Read more: PennDOT’s New Program is Helping to Curb Speeding Drivers in Work Zones

How to Avoid a Pedestrian Accident

While pedestrians do (usually) have the right of way, it’s not enough to rely on. As a pedestrian, you have to do your due diligence to make sure the area around you is safe. Below, are some helpful tips to keep in mind to help you avoid a pedestrian accident:

  • Stay alert at all times
  • Always use designated crosswalks in parking lots and other intersections
  • Obey traffic signs; do not cross the street unless it it safe to do so
  • Walk on the sidewalk instead of the street
  • Keep your phone in your pocket and do not look at it while walking and/or crossing the street
  • Wear brightly colored and reflective clothing, especially if walking at night
  • Look both ways before you cross the street, even if the sign tells you it’s okay to cross

Remember, don’t assume the driver sees you, even if you’re obeying all the rules. Stay vigilant and stay safe. However, if you or someone you love is unfortunately injured in a pedestrian accident, give our firm a call. Our team is here to help. 

Read more: What To Ask For In A Personal Injury Settlement in Pennsylvania

Contact A Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer To Discuss Your Pedestrian Accident Case In Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a pedestrian accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of pedestrian accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.