Pedestrian fatalities are soaring both in North Carolina and across the United States.
Last year was a deadly one for pedestrians, both in North Carolina and across the country. As The State reports, pedestrian fatalities rose by 11 percent nationwide in 2016 and by a staggering 25 percent in North Carolina. The nationwide increase is the biggest seen in close to half a century and is largely being blamed on alcohol, distracted driving, and an increase in overall traffic thanks to lower gas prices. North Carolina, meanwhile, now ranks as one of the worst states for pedestrian accidents in the country according to a separate study.
Pedestrian fatalities increasing
Estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association show that nationwide pedestrian fatalities were 5,997 last year, a 621 fatality – or 11 percent – increase over 2015’s figures. That’s the steepest rise in pedestrian fatalities in more than 40 years. It’s also more than a thousand fatalities higher than were recorded as recently as 2014, when 4,910 pedestrians were killed in the U.S.
North Carolina was one of the 34 states that saw an increase in pedestrian deaths. There were 96 pedestrian fatalities in the state last year, which was a 25 percent increase from the year before. As WNCN News reports, a separate study by Smart Growth America now ranks North Carolina as the 11th-most dangerous state for pedestrians. The Raleigh metro area, which saw 44 more pedestrian-related accidents last year compared to 2015, is ranked as the 27 th most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the country.
Alcohol and distractions
There are a number of reasons for the increase in pedestrian fatalities. In terms of contributing factors, alcohol is believed to be have been involved in about half of all fatal pedestrian accidents, either because the driver or the pedestrian was drunk at the time of the crash.
Interestingly, low gas prices may also be behind the increase in deaths. With gas prices remaining so low, drivers are able to drive longer and more often. That leads to an increase in overall traffic which in turn causes an increase in pedestrian accidents.
Finally, distractions are another growing problem. Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of fatal traffic accidents across the country, due to smartphones as well as in-car infotainment systems. Likewise, pedestrians are more distracted by their phones and other mobile devices when they need to be paying attention to possible hazards.
Personal injury law
Being injured in an accident, especially as a pedestrian, is a difficult and often overwhelming experience. Many accident victims don’t know where to turn to for help and pedestrians are often unsure about whether they will be able to claim compensation. A personal injury attorney, fortunately, can help, including by informing victims about what claims they may be able to pursue to help them recover from their injuries.