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U.S. Pedestrian Fatalities Soar to 40-Year High

a bright yellow pedestrian crossing sign on a neighborhood street.

Drivers struck and killed over 7,400 people in 2021

Pedestrians have no protection when they are hit by a car, truck, or SUV. As a result, they can suffer serious injuries in a pedestrian accident. These include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal bleeding. Many times, those injuries are fatal. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that has been getting worse.

Pedestrian traffic fatalities across the United States in 2021 rose 11.5% from the year before to 7,485, the highest number in four decades, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) based on preliminary data from state highway safety offices.

There were 136 pedestrian fatalities in Indiana in 2021, a 10.6% increase from 2020 when there were 123 deaths.

“We must address the root causes of the pedestrian safety crisis – speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors, inadequate infrastructure, and roads designed for vehicle speed instead of safety – to reverse this trend and ensure people can walk safely,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.

Pedestrians are at an increased risk

There have already been several pedestrian deaths in Indiana this year. In May, a 30-year-old pedestrian died one day after being hit by a vehicle on Creasy Lane in Lafayette. That same month, a 64-year-old man was struck and killed while walking across 38th Street in Indianapolis.

The GHSA report also analyzed 2020 data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to spot trends in fatal pedestrian accidents. They found:

  • The percentage of pedestrian fatalities involving speeding rose to 8.6%, up from 7.2% in 2019.
  • The percentage of pedestrian deaths among children younger than 15 involving speeding rose from 5.8% in 2018 to 11.9% in 2020.
  • Pedestrians accounted for 17% of all traffic fatalities in 2020 – that’s up from 13% in 2010.

Drivers have a responsibility to take steps to help prevent pedestrian accidents. For example, they must:

  • Always be alert for people who are walking, especially in neighborhoods and in school zones.
  • Be extra careful at night or when visibility is poor.
  • Slow down and be ready to stop when approaching a crosswalk.
  • Stop immediately when a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk.
  • Never pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.
  • Never get behind the wheel after using alcohol or drugs.
  • Always follow posted speed limits, especially in school zones or where there may be children.
  • Back up slowly and carefully and look out for people near the vehicle.

Contact Vaughan & Vaughan if you were hit by a car

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and confusing. They may question the seriousness of injuries or argue who was at fault for what happened. Negligent drivers may deny doing anything wrong. These are all things that can have a negative impact on the amount of compensation you're able to recover.

That's why it’s important to have an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer on your side who knows how to build strong cases that get results. At Vaughn & Vaughan, we know how to deal with insurance companies and fight to get our clients the best case results possible. Our firm has been fighting for the injured since 1913, and we know what it takes to win in Indiana.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at one of our office locations. We can review the details of your accident, go over your legal options for recovering compensation, and answer any questions you have.

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