Conditions in 2020 caused a lot of businesses to shutter their doors. Consequently, many white-collar employees transitioned to home offices and remote work. That led to a sharp drop in traffic just about everywhere.
Why, then, did pedestrian deaths climb all over the nation?
New report shows dire situation for pedestrians
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) issued a new report that indicates 6,721 pedestrians died in traffic wrecks in 2020. This is a 4.8% increase over 2019 even though motor vehicles travelled about 13.2% less than they had the year before. This marks the largest increase in pedestrian fatalities in a single year since 1975.
Not every state was equally affected, however. Nineteen states actually saw fewer pedestrian fatalities over the last year than before — but California wasn’t among them. While Texas saw the biggest increase in pedestrian deaths (going from a mere 62 to 723 fatalities) in 2020, California had the highest total number of deaths (1,026). While that’s only a slight increase over 2019, it’s a sign that California — like much of the rest of the nation — has a problem keeping pedestrians safe.
What’s causing the rise in pedestrian deaths?
There’s no one answer, but infrastructure problems are a major contributor. Many areas don’t have good, safe walking spaces that keep pedestrians and traffic apart.
Other problems include things like drivers who speed (which was another big issue in 2020), drug and alcohol intoxication and distracted driving.
It’s worth noting that pedestrian fatality statistics only capture part of the problem. For every pedestrian that died, there are many others who were critically injured in wrecks with other motor vehicles. If you were hurt by a negligent driver’s mistake, you have every right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.