The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a new report about pedestrian deaths that may be of interest to Michigan residents. There were 5,984 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2017, according to the report. This is the second year in a row in which the numbers have almost reached 6,000. The GHSA believes that this is not a mere statistical anomaly.
The most probable explanation for the increase is that both pedestrians and drivers are more distracted than ever before. The widespread use of smartphones has led to fatality rates not seen for over 25 years, according to the report’s author. Another factor is marijuana use; seven states, in addition to Washington, D.C., have legalized pot use for recreational purposes.
One way that cities have aimed to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents is to outlaw walking with a smartphone. Honolulu has passed such a law, and the city of Montclair, Calif., even bans pedestrians from walking with headphones on. However, such laws cannot prevent a person from accidentally wandering into the road.
The issue is most pronounced in urban areas. Advances in safety technology, such as the development of collision avoidance systems, rearview cameras and automatic emergency braking, have unfortunately been unable to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths.
In the event of an auto-pedestrian accident, victims may be able to receive financial compensation. Comparative negligence, while not automatically making a claim void, can lower the potential amount of the settlement. This is why it’s important to have a lawyer evaluate the case. Once the lawyer determines that the victim has valid grounds for a claim, he or she could hire third-party experts to build up the case against the defendant. If the driver was to blame, the lawyer will negotiate for an informal settlement with the auto insurance company.