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Pedestrian Deaths Continue to Rise in NC; But Why?

September 5th, 2019

Last year in North Carolina, not only did the number of people killed in traffic crashes increase, but so did the number of pedestrian fatalities. According to the state Division of Motor Vehicles, the number of pedestrians killed in the state increased by 13.4 percent from the previous year, bringing the death toll to 228. Unfortunately, North Carolina is not alone. The number of pedestrians killed nationwide has also increased, with a total of 5,977 in 2017. Although there has been a clear uptrend, there is still no clear explanation.

Potential Answers

In a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, several potential factors were cited. These included the increase of larger vehicles (such as SUV’s) on the road, and inattentiveness of both drivers and pedestrians, due to the evolution of technology (e.g. cell phones, GPS systems, and flat-screen displays). Another potential factor suggested by Mark Ezzell, the director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, is that since the message not to drink and drive has finally sunk in, intoxicated people are choosing to walk to their destination.

This seems to hold true, as in about 30 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes alcohol is suspected. Other possible factors include failing to yield to traffic that has the right of way, illegally being in the middle of the road, or even wearing dark clothing at night. According to Christopher Oliver, a traffic safety specialist for the N.C. Department of Transportation, of the 228 pedestrians that were killed in crashes last year, 70 percent died at night – mostly between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Another way to look at this alarming statistic is that our road designs actually contribute to the danger. Most roads in urban and suburban areas are designed solely for cars – not for people. In urban areas, where more people are likely to be traveling by foot, most pedestrian deaths occurred. The highest number of pedestrian deaths occurred in Mecklenburg, with 37 deaths.

Since this remains such a serious issue, Henson Fuerst is proud to support NC Vision Zero, which is part of the Vision Zero campaign to help eliminate traffic deaths across the U.S. as well as in Canada. Vision Zero works to help build safer streets, reduce distracted or impaired driving, reduce speeds, and hold all drivers and pedestrians responsible for upholding traffic safety. It is the hope of Henson Fuerst that initiatives such as this one can help to change traffic safety and eliminate roadway fatalities for once and for all.

The Attorneys at Henson Fuerst Can Help

If you or a loved one has been hit by a motor vehicle while walking, the consequences can be quite severe. From physical injuries to mental and emotional injuries, these injuries can negatively impact every aspect of your life. But you should not have to deal with someone else’s negligent actions alone.

At Henson Fuerst, our experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys understand just what is at stake and will work hard to ensure that you get the compensation that you need in order to move forward with your life. To learn more about your rights or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107.