U.S. Department of Transportation Calls Pedestrian Deaths “Preventable Tragedies”

July 10, 2020

Pedestrian deaths can be prevented in Pittsburgh, PA

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, road fatalities saw a significant decrease from 2009 through 2018. Despite this decrease, pedestrian deaths have actually increased by a shocking 53% in 2018. U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao called these pedestrian deaths “preventable tragedies” during a national webinar for transportation officials this past Wednesday. The Governors Highway Safety Association said that while they expected pedestrian deaths to rise 5% in 2019 based on figures from the first six months of the year, Secretary Chao said the final result will actually show a 2% decrease by the end of the year.

During the webinar, Secretary Chao went on to say that more and more pedestrians are opting to walk in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic. She said that many individuals are using walking as their main form of exercise since many gyms have been shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. One side effect of this, however, is that this means more people are potentially putting themselves at risk for an accident, especially if they are trying to social distance on narrow sidewalks or alongside roads that don’t have any. According to Mala Parker, the deputy administrator at the Federal Highway Administration, studies have shown that certain preventative measures have proven wildly successful. Giving pedestrians more time to cross the street reduced deaths by 60% while installing sidewalks where there previously weren’t any reduced fatalities by 90% overall. These statistics highlight the importance of restructuring our communities to help bolster pedestrian safety.

According to Chao, many communities adapted to the uptick in walking by installing barriers, lowering speed limits and designating some streets solely for pedestrian use. While the Coronavirus may have played a part in this growing trend, James Owens, deputy administrator for the National Highway Safety Administration said that eco-friendly methods of transportation such as walking have been steadily increasing. He is quoted saying, “Not every community is designed with pedestrians in mind. We are encouraged that the number [of deaths] is moving in the right direction, but clearly there is a lot of work still to be done” – the right direction, of course, referring to Secretary Chao’s estimation that pedestrian deaths will decrease by two percent.

The summit will continue hosting webinars throughout July in an effort to push for the ongoing Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian program through a movement called Step Up. The Step Up campaign strives to reduce pedestrian deaths in areas that are poorly lit and at non-intersection locations. Step Up also aims to reduce accidents and fatalities amongst the elderly population. These efforts will be at the heart of Pedestrian Safety Month, which is celebrated every October. According to Nicole Nason, who oversees a variety of safety programs at the Federal Highway Administration, efforts to lower the number of pedestrian deaths has to include everyone from the vehicle manufacturers who install safety equipment all the way up to the federal level. “Collaboration is key,” Nason said, “the only way we will achieve success is by teaming up.”

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

While pedestrian accidents can result from a number of factors, they are most commonly the result of the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Speeding
  • Left-hand turns
  • Defective auto parts and malfunction
  • Failing to yield or obey traffic signs and/or laws

One of the biggest causes of pedestrian accidents is when a driver is distracted by their cell phone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused numerous fatalities, claiming the lives of 1,730 drivers, 400 pedestrians, 605 passengers and 77 cyclists in 2018.

As our world continues to advance technologically and as more and more people are opting to walk either for exercise or leisure, the importance of pedestrian safety is paramount. If you or someone you love was injured as a result of a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to get started on your claim. The injuries resulting from a pedestrian accident are often catastrophic. At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., we believe in getting those who have been hurt the money and justice they deserve. Our firm is ready to take your call.

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) 564-4770 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Avenue, Pittsburg, 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.