Though final data isn’t yet available, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) is projecting that pedestrian fatalities around the country reached a 30-year high in 2019. GHSA estimates 6,590 pedestrian traffic deaths in 2019. The last time the U.S. saw more pedestrian deaths in a single year was 1988.
The increase represents a new peak in a multiyear trend. Not only have the number of pedestrian fatalities been increasing year-over-year since 2013, but they’re making up a growing percentage of traffic deaths. From 1999-2009, pedestrian deaths consistently accounted for 11-12% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. By 2018, 17% of those killed in traffic were pedestrians.
In that same year, 20% of fatal pedestrian accidents were hit-and-runs. That means more than 1,200 people around the country were fatally hit by cars and abandoned by the responsible driver. There’s no aggregated data available to indicate how many of those pedestrians might have survived if the driver had stopped, rendered aid, and called for medical assistance.
Ohio Traffic Crash Data for 2019
Of course, pedestrian fatalities make up a small percentage of the pedestrian-involved accidents in the state, and pedestrian-involved accidents make up a small percentage of overall traffic crashes. In 2019, there were 296,865 reported traffic accidents in the state of Ohio, resulting in more than 1,000 fatalities and more than 42,000 injuries. Those crashes are heavily concentrated in certain areas of the state. In fact, just three Ohio counties account for more than ⅓ of reported crashes. Those counties include Cuyahoga (the Cleveland area) and Franklin (the Columbus area).
Statewide, 2,556 reported crashes involved pedestrians–443 of those in Cuyahoga County. Another 1,226 statewide and 265 in Cuyahoga County involved bicyclists.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Near the end of 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said “Distracted driving involving smartphones is, without a doubt, a major contributing factor to this increase in traffic fatalities…” There’s certainly evidence to support that conclusion. Distracted driving accidents are responsible for a significant percentage of traffic injuries and fatalities around the country and in Ohio.
Last year, the Ohio Distracted Driving Task Force concluded that there had been at least 14,000 distracted driving accidents in the state in 2017, but suggested that the number might be much higher. Distracted driving accidents are likely to be underreported, since reporting generally relies on either witness observation or the driver admitting to having been distracted. The task force also noted that distracted driving accidents are 100% preventable.
Still, there are measures Ohio pedestrians can take to protect themselves. One key factor impacting pedestrian deaths is alcohol consumption. Though the percentage of pedestrian fatalities involving an intoxicated pedestrian has declined steadily over the past two decades, the numbers are still significant. In 2019, 42% of pedestrians killed in traffic at night had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08% or greater–in other words, BACs that would have made it illegal for them to operate a motor vehicle. 25% of pedestrians killed between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. also had BACs of .08% or more.
Location also plays a significant role in the risk to pedestrians. Unsurprisingly, most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, where there are more people and more cars. In 2018, 81% of pedestrian deaths nationwide happened in urban areas. Of course, urban pedestrians can’t simply opt for a better area to walk. But there are variables that can make urban walking safer:
- Avoid overconsumption of alcohol before walking: As the statistics above show, intoxicated pedestrians are at greater risk of dying in traffic.
- Choose your path wisely: Nearly 60% of pedestrian fatalities take place on major roadways that aren’t freeways or interstates, and another 15% on freeways and interstates. When possible, choose minor roads with lighter traffic and lower speed limits for walking.
- When possible, walk during the day: About half of all traffic fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. In addition, there are more traffic deaths in the fall and winter months when daylight hours shrink.
Help for Injured Ohio Pedestrians
If you’ve been injured by a motor vehicle while walking or have lost a loved one to a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Most pedestrian accidents are avoidable if the motor vehicle operator is paying attention, observing traffic laws, and making necessary adaptations for conditions like weather and lighting.
In Ohio, injured people are often entitled to compensation for their injuries even if their own negligence played a role in the accident. So don’t assume that you’re on your own if you were distracted by your phone before being hit by a car or your loved one was intoxicated when a pedestrian accident occurred. An experienced Ohio car accident attorney can be your best source of information about your rights, the types of damages you may be entitled to, and how your own actions may impact your recovery. At Plevin & Gallucci, we are dedicated to helping injury victims and those who have lost family members secure the compensation they need to rebuild and move forward. We have decades of experience fighting for people who have been hurt through someone else’s negligence.
The sooner you have accurate information about your options, the better. You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation right now by calling 877-4PLEVIN or filling out the contact form on this page.