For many, life seemed to slow to a standstill for much of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic led many people to work from home and avoid traveling or attending public gatherings. Because of this, one would expect that the roads would have been safer due to less traffic. However, the opposite was true, especially for pedestrians. The number of fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 8% from 2019 to 2020, but since the number of miles people in the United States traveled by car decreased by 13%, the number of pedestrian deaths per mile traveled increased by a staggering 24%. With more than 42,000 deaths nationwide in pedestrian accidents and other types of motor vehicle collisions, many are wondering why 2020 was such a dangerous year on our country’s roads.
Unsafe Roads and Vehicles in the United States
Safety experts believe that the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents is due to some factors that make the roads in the United States inherently unsafe for people on foot. City and state governments follow standardized manuals when designing roads and implementing traffic control devices, but these manuals are written from the perspective of motor vehicle drivers, with little focus on pedestrians or bicyclists. Many of these manuals require roads to have wide lanes, which encourage people to drive faster. In addition, manuals recommend that speed limits be set based on the speeds that vehicles regularly travel. This means that when more people drive over the speed limit on a certain road, the speed limit is likely to be raised to match this behavior, without considering whether this would put pedestrians in danger.
The laws governing the design of motor vehicles themselves are another factor that can increase the risks for pedestrians. Safety regulations focus on protecting drivers and passengers inside vehicles rather than others who may be involved in a collision. As a result, auto makers have designed increasingly larger vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks that make it harder for drivers to see pedestrians or bicyclists in front of them. Many of these vehicles also include accessories such as “bull bars” that increase the risk of injury for pedestrians or people in smaller vehicles.
In addition to these factors, experts believe that accidents increased in 2020 due to negligent behaviors by many drivers. Fewer vehicles on the road may have led many to violate speed limits or drive while distracted. The increased consumption of alcohol and use of drugs may have also led to more drunk driving accidents.
Contact Our Green Bay Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
If you or a member of your family have been hit by a negligent driver while traveling on foot, Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. can help you take legal action to pursue financial compensation. We will investigate the circumstances of your injury to determine who was at fault, and we will gather evidence to support your claim, including police reports, recordings of 911 calls, testimony from witnesses, pictures of the scene, footage from nearby security cameras, and medical records. To set up a free consultation and learn how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve, contact our Appleton pedestrian accident lawyers today at 920-739-7366.