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Pedestrian Fatalities Rising in the U.S.

Posted on in BGL Law
Pedestrian Fatalities Rising in U.S.The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a concerning report that says the number of pedestrian fatalities resulting from vehicle accidents may have increased by 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. The GHSA's preliminary report for 2016 projects that there may have been just shy of 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. last year. Though the final number must be confirmed, it would fit the trend from previous years. Researchers suspect that pedestrian fatalities are increasing because of distractions for both drivers and pedestrians.

The Numbers

The GHSA conducted its preliminary 2016 study after data from recent years showed an increase in the number of pedestrians killed during traffic crashes:

  • The pedestrian fatality total has grown from 4,109 people in 2009 to 5,376 in 2015;
  • Data from 2014 and 2015 showed an increase of more than 400 people; and
  • Pedestrian fatalities have become a larger percentage of the total traffic fatalities, increasing from 11 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2015.

The GHSA compiled the number of pedestrian fatalities from each state for the first six months of 2016. Compared to the first six months of 2015, the total deaths increased by seven percent. However, the GHSA believes the actual percentage increase for the entire year will be greater. The preliminary data is collected from State Highway Safety Offices, and the final numbers come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In previous years, the GHSA found that the SHSO undercounted the fatality numbers by an average of four percent, compared to the NHTSA data. Therefore, the GHSA believes it is being conservative in estimating that the total increase could be 11 percent.

How Illinois Compares

Preliminary data projects that the number of Illinois pedestrian fatalities may decrease by 13 percent from 2015 to 2016. Illinois ranks among the top ten states for total pedestrian fatalities but is in the bottom half of states for fatality rate based on population. Chicago, where pedestrian fatalities are most likely to occur, is also on the lower end of total fatalities among the top 10 most populous cities in the country.


Alcohol is often involved in pedestrian fatalities. A 2015 report estimates that 34 percent of pedestrians and 15 percent of drivers were legally intoxicated during fatal accidents. A U.S. Census survey also reports that more people are choosing to walk to work. However, safety advocates point to the increased use of mobile devices, which distract both drivers and pedestrians.

Injury Liability

Pedestrians who are not killed during a traffic accident may suffer catastrophic injuries. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you attain compensation if the driver was responsible for the accident. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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