The U.S. is a car-oriented society. Many cities were designed to be automobile-friendly, which makes them dangerous for pedestrians. Federal government automobile fatality statistics show that pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report in August 2013 detailing the tools it has developed to combat the increase in pedestrian fatalities.

Pedestrian Fatalities on the Rise

According to NHTSA data, pedestrian fatalities have been increasing over the past few years. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, pedestrians were one of the few categories of road users for which fatalities rose, representing 14 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. Pedestrian fatalities rose by 3 percent between 2010 and 2011 to reach 4,432 deaths. If pedestrian fatality rates remain at the same rate, one pedestrian will be injured every 8 minutes and one pedestrian will die every two hours in 2013.

Pedestrians seem to be most vulnerable in urban areas, as about 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen in urban environments. Pedestrians are more likely to be killed at night or when not in intersections. The data shows that 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur in the evening and outside of intersections.

The NHTSA announced that it will provide $2 million in grant money to cities with pedestrian fatality rates higher than the national average to help them develop pedestrian safety plans. The NHTSA also teamed with the Federal Highway Administration to develop a website that has safety information for pedestrians and resources for cities to help protect pedestrians.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

People can increase their likelihood of remaining safe while on foot by following a few simple safety tips, including:

  • Obeying traffic laws, signs and signals.
  • Crossing streets at intersections.
  • Walking on sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Remaining alert at all times, avoiding the distraction of cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Looking both ways for traffic before crossing the street.
  • Making eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Wearing bright colors to increase visibility.

Speak with an attorney

No matter how many precautions pedestrians take while on the street, they cannot make drivers pay attention. The odds are stacked against pedestrians when motor vehicles collide with pedestrians. Drivers who are careless and strike pedestrians need to be held accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured by an automobile while walking, talk to a skilled auto accident attorney who can help you recover for your injuries.