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Pedestrian safety is an increasing concern

Highway safety is typically thought of in terms of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. While it is a legitimate safety concern, most Missouri residents take reasonable precautions by obeying traffic laws and driving alertly. Thankfully, the majority of vehicle crashes are in fact minor, and advanced safety equipment has helped to protect drivers and passengers. However, when one of the people involved in an accident is a pedestrian, the potential for a serious or fatal injury is significantly higher.

Government research statistics paint a grim picture: The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2018 reached an almost 30-year high. This is not simply an aberration but rather the culmination of a continuous upward trend that began in 2009 when pedestrian fatalities began rising after decades of decline. Several factors are cited as contributing to these disturbing facts.

First, many areas of the country are reporting an increase of pedestrian traffic in general and more specifically greater numbers of people walking to and from work. A second reason the studies suggest as contributing is the dramatic increase in SUVs and similar high-profile vehicles on the roadways. Statistically, an SUV is twice as likely to cause a fatality as is a passenger car when involved in a pedestrian crash. A third issue involved in such fatal accidents is driver distraction from cellphone use.

Drivers who take their eyes off the road, take their hands off the wheel or focus on something other than on the task of driving may be liable if their inattentiveness results in injuries to another. A personal injury lawyer may be able to evaluate a case and recommend the best course of action under the particular circumstances. If a victim was killed, the lawyer may help the victim’s family pursue a wrongful death suit against the responsible driver.