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Pedestrian Deaths Hit Highest Mark Since 1981

Low angle view of a pedestrian crosswalk traffic signal lights.

What's causing the nation's alarming trend in pedestrian fatalities?

At least 7,508 people were killed in pedestrian accidents in the United States in 2022, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) – the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the country since 1981.

"Every day, 20 people go for a walk and do not return home. These are people living their daily lives – commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise – who died suddenly and violently," said GHSA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Adkins.

Fatalities on the rise in San Antonio

There were 834 pedestrian deaths in Texas in 2022, up eight from the year before. An analysis of earlier data shows that pedestrian fatalities trended upward in San Antonio, from 59 in 2019 to 65 in 2021.

A study from Smart Growth America ranked San Antonio and New Braunfels as the 20th most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians, using data from 2016 to 2020.

The GHSA report notes that states and communities are working to reduce fatalities by utilizing the Safe System approach, which accepts that humans are vulnerable and make mistakes and focuses on implementing a system with planned redundancies to protect everyone.

"The saddest part is that these crashes are preventable," Adkins said. "We know what works – better-designed infrastructure, lower speeds, addressing risky driving behaviors that pose a danger to people walking. We must do these things and more to reverse this awful trend and protect people on foot."

How states are addressing the problem

Examples of pedestrian safety efforts submitted by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) include programs focused on:

  • Refining educational materials – This includes using social media to explain the Safe System approach and creating projects that demonstrate the effectiveness of traffic calming measures.
  • Injecting pedestrian safety into driver education – Many states are now teaching new drivers about their responsibility toward other road users, including pedestrians.
  • Engaging with people experiencing homelessness – Some states have been working on ways to help protect people experiencing homelessness, who are among the most vulnerable pedestrians.
  • Focusing enforcement on dangerous driving behaviors – This includes enforcement efforts targeted at speeders and drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians or school buses.
  • Designing and building safer roadways – Many states are focusing on planning and engineering to improve pedestrian safety.
  • Slowing down motor vehicles where pedestrians are present – Some states have implemented lower speed limits on certain roads.

San Antonio has been implementing several programs as part of its Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities.

A pedestrian accident attorney can help you pursue a claim

A pedestrian fatality can be devastating for families, who are left with a sudden, shocking loss. Many families are also left with medical bills and other expenses for their loved ones. But recovering financial compensation is a complicated process.

If you get hit by a car or a loved one dies in a fatal pedestrian accident, insurance companies may try to limit or deny compensation. They do this by disputing fault, suggesting the pedestrian was partially or entirely responsible due to negligence, such as jaywalking or not paying attention.

The insurance company may also question the severity of your injuries, implying they were not as severe as claimed or were pre-existing. Another tactic is to claim you failed to mitigate damages by not seeking prompt and appropriate medical attention or not adhering to prescribed treatment plans.

The pedestrian accident lawyers at The Herrera Law Firm are here to help you demand the justice and financial compensation you deserve. We can handle all communications with insurance companies and will fight to ensure negligent parties are held accountable.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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