According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrians fatally struck by motorists showed an increase of 21% between 2019 and 2020. As noted by the GHSA’s report, 485 California pedestrians died in vehicle accidents during the first two quarters of 2020.
The surge in accidents involving walkers set a record. It accounted for the highest annual increase since the organization began collecting data in the 1970s. As reported by Forbes magazine, driving under the influence of alcohol contributed to almost half of the pedestrian deaths over the last decade.
Larger vehicles and driver distractions also contribute
In addition to intoxication, sport utility vehicles also contribute to serious pedestrian accidents. As noted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, their larger size and weight results in more life-threatening injuries when they strike walkers.
Distracted driving also contributes to pedestrian fatalities. As noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distractions may include talking and interacting with devices. A GPS system, for example, can take a driver’s attention away from the road when looking at it for directions.
Fewer vehicles on the road may encourage speeding
GHSA researchers noted fewer vehicles on the road during 2020. Rather than decreasing the number of pedestrian accidents, however, they increased. As reported by NBC News, more space available on the roads encouraged motorists to drive at higher speeds. Larger vehicles, however, contributed to the severity of each pedestrian accident that occurred.
Fatal crashes often require legal action to hold motorists liable for the devastating harm they caused. Operators owe a duty of care to California’s residents to control their vehicles while on the public roads. Although nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit may provide relief for a family to recover and move forward.