police man trying to save the life of a pedestrian following an accident | pedestrian fatality ratesThe Department of Transportation has been keeping data on how many pedestrians are killed by automobiles since 1975, and the early numbers were terrible. In fact, the year with the most pedestrian fatalities since they started tracking, was 1979 with 8,000 pedestrians being killed by cars that year alone. 

By 2009 that number had been cut in half to 4,000, due in large part to the work done by activists urging government officials to lower speed limits, create safer conditions for pedestrians and more aggressively pursue intoxicated drivers. 

But since 2010 the rates of pedestrians in fatal accidents with cars has been on a steady rise and it looks like the possible culprit is exactly what you’d think it is: distracted driving caused by smartphones.

Numerous Factors Affect Pedestrian Fatality Rates

There are a number of factors that researchers have determined play a part in affecting pedestrian accident rates. For instance, advancements in car design, the time of day, demographics such as age, the time of year and many other factors are taken into consideration when researchers try to isolate trends from data. 

The economy has also been determined to be a very big factor. When the economy is bad, people are more inclined to stay home. If you don’t have a job to go to, and you don’t have money to go out with, you tend to stay home more often. And that is borne out by the fact that when the economy is good, the rate of fatal pedestrian accidents tends to go up. 

But the recent improvements in the US economy doesn’t explain just how rapidly fatal pedestrian accident rates have gone up. In 2016, there were 6,000 fatal pedestrian accidents, a 50% increase over the historic low of 4,000, in just seven years. 

Many More People Have Smartphones Now

One factor that does help explain the increase in pedestrian fatalities is the increased adoption of smartphones. In 2010, there were only 62.6 million smartphone users in the United States. In 2019, there were 265.9 million smartphone users. That’s an increase of almost 325%. For the same time period, there was a 400% increase in annual wireless data use. The correlation doesn’t prove a causal relationship of course, but it is an interesting coincidence. 

The fact is, it’s hard to find 100% conclusive evidence for a variety of reasons. Typically in fatal pedestrian accidents, only one perspective of the accident gets told, the perspective of the still-living driver. That’s only half the story of what happened. 

It’s also very hard to pinpoint the exact moment an accident happened, and without that information, even when police can check the phone records of the driver involved, it’s impossible to know whether or not the driver was distracted at the exact time of the collision. 

Regardless, the vast majority of us acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving, even if 40% of us stil admit to having texted while driving, despite knowing the dangers. 

As autonomous vehicles are more widely adopted, and smartphone makers develop new ways to keep drivers from driving distracted, and as a new generation of activists help push government officials to create safer environments for pedestrians, we’ll eventually bring these current high rates down. 

In the meantime, don’t drive distracted, pay attention to the road and not your phone. You’ll help keep yourself and those around safe. 

Contact our Family-Run Personal Injury Law Firm

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, it is important to contact an experienced Lakewood attorney immediately. Proving that a driver was distracted at the time of the accident isn’t easy. However, having an experienced law firm on your side every step of the way can drastically improve your chances of collecting the money you need to fully recover. 

Call the Lakewood accident attorneys at Paysinger Law, P.C. today. Our family-run personal injury law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303.279.0221 or by filling out the contact form on this page. See the difference family makes at Paysinger Law, P.C.

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