Pedestrians in Oklahoma may face a greater danger than they have in the past 20 years, according to one study by the Governors Highway Safety Administration. Researchers say that pedestrian fatalities in motor vehicle accidents have reached their highest point since 1988. According to the report, which is gleaned from federal crash data, 6,590 pedestrians were killed in car crashes in 2019. Between 2009 and 2019, this would mark a 60% increase in pedestrian fatalities, even as other types of motor vehicle accident deaths increased by only 2% during the same time period.
From 1988 to 2009, pedestrian fatalities saw a consistent and substantial decline as car safety improved and municipalities implemented more programs to reduce the risk of auto-pedestrian accidents. However, 2009 to 2019 has seen a consistent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities that outstrips the overall increase in traffic. For example, pedestrian deaths rose 5% between 2018 and 2019, while motor vehicle traffic increased by only 0.8%. Crashes involving vehicles and pedestrians pose significant dangers, even when everyone survives the accident. Because pedestrians are largely unprotected, they may more easily fall victim to broken bones or traumatic brain injuries when hit by a car. Pedestrian accidents also endanger public policies that seek to encourage cycling and walking to aid health and the environment.
Some tie the increase in serious motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians to the rise in distracted driving. The past decade has seen the rise of the smartphone as well as a major increase in serious pedestrian crashes. Drivers surfing the internet or texting while driving may not see pedestrians ahead of them until it is too late.
Pedestrian injuries after a crash may lead to costly medical bills. A personal injury attorney may help pedestrians injured in a car crash to pursue compensation for their losses.