Irving residents beware: Dallas-Fort Worth County has seen a disturbing rise in the number of pedestrian accidents over the last decade or so. Between 2010 and 2018, fatalities involving pedestrians rose 82%.
This issue is hardly unique to Texas. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has been tracking pedestrian fatalities for a while, and they say that problem is one that occurs all over the nation, particularly in urban areas. Pedestrian deaths account for 16% of all traffic fatalities and are worse now than at any time since 1990.
Why are urban areas so dangerous for pedestrians? There are numerous reasons:
- There are generally more walkers in urban areas. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of Americans who have started to walk to work has increased by 4%
- There are a lot more sports utility vehicles on the road these days. Americans tend to love big vehicles, especially for families, but bigger, heavier vehicles also do a lot more damage when they collide with a pedestrian or cyclist than compact cars.
- There are too many distractions. Distracted driving has increased dramatically since smartphones became a standard feature of American life.
- Alcohol can often be a factor. Anyone who has been drinking is safer getting a ride home — whether they drove to their neighborhood watering hole or walked there.
- Road crossings are missing, badly designed or poorly lit. It’s hard to make safe choices on your travels when there aren’t any choices to make. Many cities were designed with vehicles — not walkers — in mind. Crosswalks can be few and far in-between. Traffic signs can be confusing or nonfunctional.
- Poor visibility at night can be a problem. Many pedestrians don’t realize just how invisible they are to drivers without reflective clothing.
If you walk for exercise or use your feet as your primary mode of transportation, it’s wise to take safety precautions. If you are injured, find out how an experienced representative can help you recover fair compensation.