Massachusetts may not be the most dangerous state for pedestrians, but residents should be wary of the rising number of pedestrian fatalities across the nation. According to a survey by the Governors Highway Safety Administration, which looked at data through June 2019, the number of pedestrian deaths in 2019 was estimated to be at least 5% higher than in 2018. This was only one of a few troublesome statistics.
Pedestrian accidents over the decades
Though pedestrian deaths decreased between 1988 and 2009, fatalities have been steadily increasing every year since. The GHSA estimated that there were 6,590 pedestrian fatalities in all of 2019, an increase of approximately 60% since 2009. This steep rise contrasts with the number of other motor vehicle fatalities, which have gone up only 2% in the past decade. The number of passengers dying in car accidents even went down 25% from 1975 to 2018.
Pedestrian fatalities verses other motor vehicle fatalities
It stands to reason that pedestrians are more at risk of injury or death from a motor vehicle accident than people inside the car, who are protected by the vehicle itself. Contributing to this is the fact that vehicle safety has improved over the past decades.
Adding to the risk faced by pedestrians is the increased prevalence of light trucks and SUVs. Though these vehicles made up only 48% of new vehicle sales in 2009, they comprised 69% by 2018. According to the GHSA, SUVs are more than twice as likely to kill a pedestrian as a smaller type of vehicle.
Though an increase in motor vehicle travel may account for a small portion of the increase in pedestrian fatalities, it is not much. The Federal Highway Administration reported only a 0.8% increase in motor vehicle travel from 2018 to the first half of 2019.
The most likely culprit for the increase in pedestrian accidents is distracted driving. If you have been injured in an accident by someone you believe is at fault, you might consider speaking with a personal injury attorney.