Reports show that fatalities are on the rise
While the full data for 2015 isn't just available, all signs indicate that pedestrian fatalities are up for the tenth straight year.
According to preliminary data reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths were up six percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the first half of 2014. Because pedestrian accidents are typically underreported in the first half of the year, the report predicted a 10 percent increase for the full year.
Texas was one of four states, along with California, Florida and New York, that together accounted for 42 percent of the pedestrian fatalities nationwide, according to the report.
San Antonio has long been a dangerous city for pedestrians. A report released in 2014 indicated that San Antonio was 18th among the nation's 51 largest metro areas in terms of pedestrian fatalities.
Overall traffic accidents were also up in 2015, but not to the same degree as pedestrian accidents. Indeed, pedestrians accounted for 15 percent of all fatalities last year, which was also a significant increase over previous years.
More cars on the road, more distracted drivers
One of the reasons pedestrian accidents - and accidents in general - are up is the recent drop in gas prices. Cheaper fuel means more cars on the road, and more cars mean more accidents.
However, that's not enough to explain why pedestrian accidents are up even more than other types of accidents. Texting while driving is still legal for adult drivers in Texas - although it is illegal in San Antonio and most other major cities - but motorists who choose to text have a responsibility to pay attention to the road. Pedestrians are often hit by distracted drivers because they're easy to overlook - after all, they're smaller and make less noise than vehicles.
Cell phone use is the most high-profile cause of distracted driving accidents today, but it's far from the only one. Motorists also cause pedestrian fatalities while they are eating, adjusting the radio or otherwise distracted behind the wheel.
Alcohol also plays a role. According to the nationwide data, 15 percent of drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities are intoxicated. Most pedestrian fatalities happen at night, when there are more drunk drivers on the roads and limited visibility makes accidents more likely.
Motorists have an obligation to drive responsibly and share the road with pedestrians who are legally crossing or walking alongside the street. When they don't, they should be held accountable. If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, contact The Herrera Law Firm today. We know how to fight for you.