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GHSA estimates a surge in pedestrian deaths in 2018

The Governors Highway Safety Association has analyzed data collected by state highway safety offices in the first half of 2018. Based on this information, it estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year. If the estimate is accurate, 2018 marked an increase of 250 deaths from 2017 and was the most deadly year for pedestrians since 1990. Georgia residents may be interested to know what else the GHSA report says.

Pedestrians made up 16 percent of all road fatalities in 2018, compared to 12 percent in 2009. SUV-related pedestrian fatalities have increased 50 percent from 2013 to 2018, compared to a 30 percent increase in passenger car-related pedestrian deaths during that same period. SUVs account for 60 percent of all new vehicle sales. At the same time, the higher front-end profiles make SUVs more deadly when they collide with pedestrians.

Another factor in the trend is the growing number of Americans who walk or bike for recreation or commutes. Smartphone use, among both pedestrians and drivers, is another concern. Drivers who text are six times more likely to crash.

Most pedestrians were killed on local streets, away from intersections and at night. In fact, nighttime crashes are behind 90 percent of the total increase in pedestrian fatalities for the past decade. Alcohol intoxication was involved in half of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2017.

If a pedestrian is fatally injured and the blame lies with the driver, then the family or other eligible dependents of the decedent may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, it must be shown that the other party's actions were negligent, reckless or criminal. Having a lawyer may be beneficial for this process. If successful, the plaintiff could be covered for pre-death medical bills, funeral expenses and loss of support.

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