Rising Number of Pedestrian Deaths at Night

Pedestrian deaths had been on a decline since 1980 onward. However, since 2009, there have been a rising number of pedestrian deaths on America’s roads; this increase was bumped further during the pandemic. In fact, pedestrian fatalities have increased faster than other kinds of traffic-related deaths. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, which analyzed government data on this point, in 2022, a minimum of 7508 people died after being hit by U.S. drivers. The New York Times’s “The Upshot” tried to come up with answers to this surge in pedestrian death using the hivemind of its readers. These answers ranged from increased smartphone use to increasing podcasts and cataracts.

Some of the reader theories seemed stronger, the Upshot suggested. These included LED headlights, streetlight design, aging drivers, and fewer pedestrians, which has meant fewer norms around safety in driving around pedestrians.

One of the most common issues raised by readers was that brighter LED lights, which are intended to help drivers navigate at night are blinding for both pedestrians and oncoming cars, which can lead to death. However, researchers have found that while LED lights are brighter, but they are also becoming safer. The safety ratings for headlights have improved, too; the higher the rating of the headlight, the lower the collision rates, including car crashes with pedestrians, which suggests they haven’t seriously contributed to increased pedestrian death. Similarly, if people were blinded by headlights, thereby causing fatalities among pedestrians, passenger and driver deaths would have gone up, too, which they had not.

Similarly, LED streetlights, installed to reduce energy costs, were blamed by readers. But this change has occurred all over the world and isn’t particular to the United States, which is the country that has seen the increase in pedestrian deaths over the last few years. Readers also suggested that the aging population has resulted in a surge in pedestrian fatalities. But the increase in pedestrian deaths isn’t related to the walker’s age. Research does show that aging drivers are more likely to cause a pedestrian death than a young driver is.

Additionally, some readers pointed out, social norms around safety in walking, which used to be imparted in public education, have eroded. However, transportation researchers and city planners believe the answer is safer street design rather than public education.

As a family member of dependent of someone who was killed as a result of another’s negligent or wrongful actions, you may be able to recover damages meant to compensate for your loved one’s death from the party. Many pedestrian deaths are the result of a driver’s negligence. To establish a driver’s negligence, we would need to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant driver owed you a duty of reasonable care, (2) the defendant’s departure from the standard of care owed to you, (3) the negligence caused your loved ones death and (4) damages arising out of your loved one’s death.

Damages we may be able to recover include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages, inheritance or reduction in inheritance, loss of parental guidance and emotional support, and services like childcare. In addition, it may be possible to recover damages for your loved one’s conscious pain and suffering as a result of the accident before his or her death.

Consult a Seasoned New York Trial Lawyer

If your loved one suffered a wrongful death as a pedestrian in White Plains or surrounding areas, you should call Mark Siesel, a trustworthy personal injury lawyer with 35 years of experience. He is unafraid to take a case to trial when a fair settlement is not offered and represents accident victims and their families in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, along with Westchester, Putnam, Kings, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Rockland, and Ulster Counties. Call us at (914) 428-7386 or complete our online form.