A recent rise in pedestrian deaths is being attributed to distracted walkers and drivers using smartphones and other handheld devices. According to research by the Governors Highway Safety Association, more than 6,000 pedestrians lost their lives in 2017. In Georgia, pedestrian deaths rose by 11 percent. While no scientific conclusions have yet to be made, experts believe that distractions as well as intoxicated walking could account for the increase.
The spike in pedestrian deaths, which are now at a 25-year high, is coming at a time when vast improvements to vehicle safety are being implemented with technologies like emergency braking systems and collision-alert technology. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes, however, states that poor vehicle headlights remain a huge problem. With 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurring at night, illumination appears to be a critical part of the issue.
Some cities are attempting to tackle the distracted pedestrian part of this problem proactively by implementing new laws. The cities of Honolulu and Montclair enacted laws against using a smartphone while strolling. Some experts believe that the increased use of recreational marijuana has also contributed to the spike in fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to release more detailed data and analysis by the end of 2018.
Pedestrian accidents that don't result in death can still cause significant injury. Victims can suffer from high medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If the driver in an accident is at fault, they may be liable for these damages. An attorney may work on a victim's behalf to seek compensation in the form of a settlement or lawsuit. Lawyers may provide a case evaluation for pedestrian victims and recommend a course of action that represents their best interests.