Increase in SUVs may be responsible for rise in pedestrian deaths

Even though there has been a concerted effort to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths in Michigan and elsewhere, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents has only continued to rise. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study showing that since 2009, pedestrian deaths have increased by 46 percent.

There has been a variety of possible causes attributed the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents. For example, smartphones and even the legalization of marijuana in many different parts of the country have been blamed. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, however, found that the number of pedestrian deaths that involved an SUV rose 81 percent from 2009 to 2016. In 2014, SUVs became the most common cause of pedestrian death, surpassing sedans.

An investigation from USA Today also found that the problem was most commonly found in cities that were located in a warmer climate or where there was a poorer population. This was due to more people being to be on the streets. Detroit topped the list of the most deadly cities for pedestrians. The streets throughout the city, including the downtown area, are multilane roads that were not designed for pedestrians.

Pedestrians are particularly at risk for sustaining severe, life-threatening injuries when they become involved in auto-pedestrian accidents. Part of the problem is that they have no protection against vehicles while the drivers are often unharmed in these types of incidents. If a negligent or dangerous driver strikes a pedestrian in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk, a personal injury attorney may help the victim recover the cost of his or her medical bills and seek compensation for other damages. If the driver has insurance, a lawyer may negotiate a settlement out of court. Otherwise, the attorney may go after the liable driver through litigation.