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What's behind the increase in pedestrian deaths?

It's easy to take your safety for granted, but the truth is that accidents happen in the blink of an eye. While improved vehicle safety technology has led to a decrease in driver and passenger deaths across the country, pedestrians are still vulnerable, and more are dying in accidents than they have in decades.

According to a new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the organization estimates that 5,984 pedestrians were killed across the country in 2017. While the numbers are essentially the same as 2016, these last two years represent a 25-year high in pedestrian fatalities.

Distracted drivers and passengers: A deadly mix

Experts believe that the biggest reason behind the sharp increase over the last two years has been the increase in distracted driving and our seeming inability to put our phones down. It's not just phones either. More cars are coming out with onboard computers that can provide plenty of opportunities for distraction. Even talking through a Bluetooth device is distracting.

This applies to more than just drivers too. Pedestrians who are looking at their phones, talking or texting while crossing the street are at a much higher risk of being seriously hurt or killed by a driver. When crossing a road you should always:

  • Wait for a walk signal
  • Cross at a crosswalk
  • Keep your head up
  • Observe the traffic that is approaching from every direction
  • Not assume that every driver out there will see you

The report also noted that 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen at night, which makes it especially important to be cautious while out walking. Wearing dark clothing and jaywalking across a poorly lit road could be a recipe for disaster.

Of course, drivers play an important role in limiting pedestrian accidents as well. These numbers highlight the need for drivers to always follow the rules of the road, slow down and keep their eyes on the road. In short, when you're driving, that's the only thing you should be doing.

Hurt? Here's what to do.

If a distracted driver causes you harm while you are out walking, riding your bike or going for a jog, or you've lost a loved one in an accident that didn't have to happen, you should always speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your options. At The Quinn Law Firm, we have helped injured pedestrians in Erie and across northwest Pennsylvania seek the compensation they deserve. To learn more, you can call us at 814-833-2222.

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