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Pedestrian deaths reached possible 30-year high in 2019

The Governors Highway Safety Administration released a preliminary report on traffic deaths in 2019 and found out something startling that pedestrians in Illinois should be aware of. The organization estimates that 6,590 pedestrians died in the U.S. in 2019, representing a 5% increase from 2018 and the highest that the number has been since 1988. The rate came to 2.0 deaths per 100,000 people, which was the highest since 1997.

Fatality rates differed by state

Nearly half (47%) of all pedestrian deaths in 2019 were reported in five states: California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida. Incidentally, nearly one third of the U.S. population resides in these five states.

The GHSA report only had data for the first half of 2019, though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have complete data in late 2020. Based on this partial data, the highest fatality rates were in New Mexico, Hawaii and Florida. Wisconsin, Idaho and Vermont had the lowest.

Reasons for the rise in fatalities

The report touched on a few potential factors in this rise, among them the warmer weather and the increased number of drivers who use their phone. One prominent factor is the growing popularity of SUVs and light trucks, and these are vehicles that pose a notorious threat to pedestrians. In 2009, 48% of all newly sold vehicles were light trucks, including SUVs. In 2018, that percentage jumped up to 69%.

Legal representation for pedestrians

Pedestrian collisions can result, if not in death, in catastrophic injuries that leave a mark for a lifetime. If you or someone you love was injured at the hands of a negligent driver, it may be good to consult an attorney. The attorney may help you file a personal injury claim and seek out compensatory damages, even handling all negotiations for you.