Perhaps you were injured while walking around Hackensack, New Jersey. Pedestrian accidents are all too frequent, and more of them are resulting in fatalities. Though many areas have adopted Vision Zero programs for reducing pedestrian deaths to zero, the fact is that the number has been increasing since 2009.

An estimated 6,590 pedestrian deaths in 2019

The Governors Highway Safety Administration made a preliminary analysis of traffic deaths in 2019 and estimated that 6,590 pedestrians died that year. The GHSA only had data spanning the first six months of 2019, but if the actual number is not too far off, it will mark a 5% increase from 2018 and a 60% spike from 2009. In fact, pedestrian fatalities have not been this high since 1988.

Forty-seven percent of the pedestrian deaths in 2019 were centered in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida: five states that, together, compose one-third of the U.S. population. As for the states that saw the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, they were New Mexico, Hawaii and Florida. Vermont, Wisconsin and Idaho had the lowest rates.

SUVs and phone use among the possible causes

Only pedestrian deaths have seen this dramatic rise. All other traffic deaths saw an overall 2% increase between 2009 and 2018. The GHSA has cited several potential reasons for this, among them the warmer weather and the greater number of drivers distracted by their phones.

Sixty-nine percent of new vehicle sales in 2019 were light trucks, such as SUVS. By contrast, 48% were such in 2009. The prevalence of SUVs and other light trucks, then, is likely one factor in the trend. The design of these vehicles leads to more severe injuries for pedestrians.

Legal representation for your case

You may want to know if you can be compensated for your medical bills, your lost wages and other losses arising from an accident. Many pedestrian collisions can lead to a personal injury claim, so to see what your options are, you may want to consult a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to negotiate on your behalf for a settlement.