Residents of New Jersey should be more careful on the roads, according to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Recent data shows that distractions are leading to more pedestrian deaths. In 2017, there were an estimated 5,984 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. This is the second year in a row where the number has reached close to 6,000.
The author, who serves as director of safety for Sam Schwartz Consulting, states that this many pedestrian deaths have not been seen for over 25 years. The year 2016 saw a 9 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from 2015, which in turn saw a 9.5 percent increase from 2014.
The GHSA states that drivers and pedestrians who are distracted by smartphones are a major factor in the increase. Drugged driving, especially in the seven states (and Washington, D.C.) where recreational marijuana use has been legalized, is another cause.
Despite advances in collision avoidance technology, such as automatic emergency braking systems and rearview cameras, other aspects of vehicle technology may be letting drivers down. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that poor headlight designs, especially those that fail to swivel when the road curves, may be contributing to the accident rate. Around 75 percent of pedestrian deaths occur at night.
Those who are injured in a pedestrian accident may be eligible for compensation, which could cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If the pedestrian dies, eligible dependents can file a wrongful death suit and possibly be reimbursed for funeral and burial expenses, pre-death medical bills and loss of support.
In either case, retaining legal assistance may be helpful. Since pedestrians are partially at fault in most cases, they might want the lawyer to apply the rules of comparative negligence to their case before going to court or the negotiation table.