Pedestrian Deaths Are Spiking in Virginia

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Virginia’s communities are dangerous places for pedestrians. They often lack crosswalks and sidewalks. Cars receive priority and people have little time to cross the road. New figures reveal a recent spike in pedestrian deaths in Virginia and elsewhere in the country. 

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report for 2018 points to a rise in pedestrian deaths and injuries in the Commonwealth. 

The report reveals 1,623 pedestrian crashes occurred in 2018, a 0.9% rise on the previous year. Although the number of accidents involving pedestrians rose only marginally year-on-year, pedestrian deaths spiked by 7.9%. 

The report reveals 123 pedestrians lost their lives last year in Virginia. Alcohol was a factor in the crashes that killed 44 pedestrians. 

In 2018, 1,584 pedestrians suffered injuries in Virginia, a 0.8% rise on 2017.  

Pedestrian deaths are spiking in Virginia both in urban areas like Hampton and Newport News and in rural areas. The state figures found 84 walkers died on urban highways last year - a 7.7% rise on 2017 and 39 died on rural roads - an 8.3% rise. The highest number of Virginia pedestrian injuries, 1,391, occurred on urban roads. Police reported 192 pedestrian injuries on rural roads, a 13.6% rise on 2017. 

Statistically, you are more likely to be killed or seriously injured as a pedestrian involved in an accident. Pedestrians were parties to 1.2% of all traffic crashes in Virginia in 2018 but pedestrians comprised 15% of all traffic deaths and 5.7% of serious injuries. More than three-quarters of the pedestrian deaths in Virginia occurred during hours of darkness. 

The Spike in Pedestrian Deaths in Virginia is Part of a National Trend 

Virginia is not alone in recording an uptick in pedestrian deaths. Figures by the Governors Highway Safety Association found 6,227 walkers died in accidents in 2018. This was a 4% increase compared to 2018 and is the highest pedestrian mortality figure since 1990, NPR reported. 

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins warned pedestrian deaths rose 35% at a time when progress was made in cutting the fatality rate for car, truck, and motorcycle occupants. He said “alarm bells” are ringing on the issue. 

Nationally, people on foot accounted for 16 percent of all traffic deaths in 2018, compared to just 12 percent 10 years earlier in 2008. The GHSA put forward the following possible reasons for the rise in pedestrian deaths. 

⁃   More people are walking than previously. Studies suggest the number of people who walk to work rose by about 4% from 2007 to 2016.

⁃   More drivers are distracted than previously and they fail to see pedestrians

⁃   Considerable numbers of drivers and pedestrians are impaired by alcohol

⁃   The fall in gas prices in recent years means more people to buy big SUVs that are more likely to kill pedestrians

⁃   Most deaths of pedestrians take place on smaller roads at night away from intersections, suggesting the lack of crosswalks is a factor in pedestrian deaths. 

Talk to a Hampton Injury Lawyer About Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries

If you have been injured as a pedestrian or lost a family member, you should talk to a Hampton injury lawyer. At the Smith Law Center, we have represented injured pedestrians and family members of deceased pedestrians for decades. Our legal team has considerable experience in taking cases all the way to trial. Please contact our experienced legal team today.