The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in Michigan and across the U.S. in 2018. Though it is only based on state highway safety office data from the first half of 2018, the estimate has serious implications. It would mean that 2018 saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990, which saw 6,482 deaths.
Various factors are involved. While passenger cars are to blame for most pedestrian deaths, the number of SUVs involved in fatal pedestrian accidents rose 50 percent from 2013 to 2017. SUVs have higher front-end profiles, making them twice as likely to kill any pedestrians they strike. There are more SUVs on the roads, too; it continues to be a best-selling vehicle and accounts for 60 percent of all new vehicles sales in the U.S.
Between 2007 and 2016, there was a 4 percent increase in the number of Americans who walk or bike. A more prominent trend has been the increase in smartphone use; the number of these devices in active use has more than quintupled between 2010 and 2017.
Another factor was alcohol impairment, which was behind half of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2017. Nighttime crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the total increase in the past decade. The GHSA is thus calling for safer road crossings and better safety programs.
When auto-pedestrian accidents are caused by the negligence or recklessness of the driver, the pedestrian may be able to file a claim. If the pedestrian died, a family member could file a wrongful death suit. A third option is to file for personal injury protection benefits under Michigan’s no-fault rule. It may be wise to discuss these options with a lawyer. The victim may ultimately be compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.