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Pedestrian deaths climb to highest levels in nearly 30 years

The number of pedestrians killed along American roadways is at its highest level since 1990. That’s the conclusion of a report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The group estimates 6,227 pedestrians were killed in 2018, which is 250 more than the year before.

Illinois ranks ninth in the U.S. with 80 pedestrian deaths in 2018, 13 more than in 2017, representing a 19% increase and making it one of 25 states seeing an increase. Meantime, 23 states saw a decline in pedestrian deaths, while two remained the same.

Several factors blamed for the increase

The GHSA report revealed a startling 41% jump in pedestrian deaths since 2008 when 4,414 fatalities occurred. Safety advocates say there are many reasons for the increase:

  • Population: Most fatalities occur in urban areas
  • Alcohol and drugs: Impairment of the driver or pedestrian was reported in half of all fatal crashes
  • Light level: Nearly 75% of all pedestrian fatalities happen after dark
  • Vehicle type: While most deaths involve passenger vehicles, fatal crashes involving SUVs and pickup trucks are increasing at a higher rate
  • Location: More pedestrian deaths occur on city streets than on highways and interstates, while only about a quarter happen at intersections
  • Distracted driving: The report says there are more people on the road, and many are distracted by their smartphones or fail to focus on the road

Education and enforcement are the keys to reducing fatalities

The GHSA says state highway safety organizations continue to work with local governments, along with law enforcement, to implement various educational, enforcement and engineering projects aimed at reducing pedestrian deaths and serious injuries. Victims can suffer long-lasting or permanent injuries creating massive medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. An experienced personal injury attorney here in Illinois can help you recover compensation if you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.

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