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Amber W. Hughes, Martza J. Majstoravich, Edward L. Murrelle

Pedestrian crashes have become more common and more serious

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Auto accident injuries

Pedestrians are a common sight on virtually any North Carolina road. People walk to the store or to work in the city. Rural areas may see joggers and others getting their daily exercise. Walking and jogging are cost-effective forms of exercise and local transportation.

Unfortunately, the risk of being a pedestrian is higher now than it has been in decades. Every time someone ventures out on foot on public roads, they put themselves at risk of a crash. While pedestrians might carefully follow the law, including facing into traffic and crossing at appropriate locations, drivers are often less safety conscious. After all, they have the protection of an enclosed vehicle.

What do pedestrians need to know about their risk?

Fatal crashes are at a 40-year high

As of 2022, pedestrian crash rates were the highest they had been since 1981. Even with only 49 states reporting fatality data, there were roughly 7,500 recorded pedestrian traffic deaths in 2022. Pedestrians are more likely to end up killed or seriously hurt than they were a few years ago.

The unfortunate reality is that for every one of those deadly pedestrian crashes reported, there were likely multiple other people who suffered significant injuries and collisions caused by motor vehicles. Crashes can cause brain injuries and major fractures, along with many other kinds of traumatic injuries.

Several factors likely contribute to the surge in these tragic collisions. Bigger vehicles are one issue. Another is an overall increase in unsafe driving behaviors reported in recent years. Finally, the widespread use of digital technology while driving is particularly dangerous for people on foot, as a momentary distraction is all it takes to cause a pedestrian collision.

What protects injured pedestrians’ interests?

When a driver strikes a pedestrian, the injured person has certain rights. They could theoretically file an insurance claim. However, low insurance coverage is quite common, and pedestrians could have injuries that cost far more than the upper limit of the applicable car insurance policy.

Frequently, pedestrian crashes are so serious that they necessitate personal injury lawsuits against dangerous or distracted drivers. Seeking adequate compensation can help people replace lost wages and pay for their medical care after a pedestrian crash. Those aware of shifting traffic safety concerns can potentially avoid common hazards and pursue the compensation they deserve after a wreck.