Pedestrian deaths climb as car accident fatalities fall

Federal safety advocates have noticed a curious trend on our nation's roads: car accident deaths are down but pedestrian deaths continue to climb. Although sometimes a pedestrian accident is attributable to a pedestrian improperly entering a busy road, it is much more common for a negligent or distracted driver to be the cause of a fatal pedestrian accident.

Many wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in connection with pedestrian accidents. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of legal action filed by the family of a deceased pedestrian against the driver who caused the pedestrian's death. Funds from a wrongful death lawsuit can be used to cover funeral expenses and compensate a family for the emotional hardship associated with the loss of a loved one.

One former NHTSA official said that the problem of pedestrian deaths continues to be a mystery.

"Quite frankly, I don't know why they went up," the official said. "Nobody knows. As far as I can tell, nobody has studied the issue. The data are too new."

Another traffic safety expert said that "nobody has good data," but added that pedestrian distraction may be a factor in a least a portion of the fatal crashes.

"But there is, by now, a number of studies that indicate that pedestrian distraction is real," he said. "It's very much like driving a car and being on a cellphone. You're much more likely to miss something around you. Even worse is texting. The likelihood of an accident being really bad or fatal is higher when you're not protected by 2 tons of steel."

Source: USA Today,"As U.S. road deaths drop, more pedestrians getting struck," Larry Copeland, Dec. 9, 2011

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