New Jersey residents might be concerned to learn that U.S. pedestrian deaths went up in 2019, according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration. The agency reports that there were nearly 5,600 pedestrian fatalities last year, which is an increase of 5% over 2018.
The GHSA uses data from the first half of each calendar year to estimate various traffic fatality statistics. It then issues a follow-up report with final numbers several months later. The agency estimates that 5,590 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the country in 2019, which is the highest number of deaths since 1988. If that number holds, it will also represent a 60% spike in pedestrian deaths since 2009.
According to the report, California, Arizona, Texas and Georgia accounted for almost half of all pedestrian deaths in the U.S. through June 2019. Meanwhile, New Mexico, Hawaii and Florida had the highest fatality rates per 100,000 people. On the flip side, Wisconsin, Idaho and Vermont had the lowest death rates. The national pedestrian death rate was 2 fatalities per 100,000 people last year, which is the highest number reported in over 20 years. Experts say that some of the reasons for the spike in pedestrian deaths include increased cellphone use, more SUVs and light trucks on U.S. roads and warmer weather.
Victims of pedestrian accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries that require weeks or months of expensive medical treatments. In order to recover compensation for their losses, many victims find it necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit them. If the suit is successful, the at-fault driver could be ordered to pay a settlement that covers the victim’s current and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Victims could learn more about their legal rights by speaking to an attorney about their case.