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Pedestrian deaths

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More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the United States by motor vehicles in 2016. In Scranton, a vehicle strikes a pedestrian once a week on average.

Pedestrian deaths have increased by 46% since 2009, coinciding with an increase in popularity of SUVs according to a Detroit Free Press/USA TODAY NETWORK investigation.  The results of their investigation are startling.   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated in a 2015 report that pedestrians are two to three times more likely to be killed when struck by an SUV or pickup truck than by a passenger car.  Yet, they have done little to publicize this finding, and adding pedestrian safety considerations into federal vehicle safety ratings has been stalled due to opposition from automakers.

While driver distraction and driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs have been cited as contributing factors to accidents, the greatest factor in the increased number of pedestrian deaths appears to be the increased prevalence of SUVs and light trucks.  While automakers state that they are trying to reduce pedestrian deaths through safety measures such as advanced pedestrian-sensingautomatic emergency braking, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows an 81% increase in single vehicle pedestrian deaths involving SUVs between 2009 and 2016.

Because SUVs have higher front ends, they strike pedestrians higher on their bodies.  A person hit by a smaller car is more likely to be hit in the leg, while a person struck by an SUV is more likely to be hit in more vulnerable areas like their head or chest. In addition to the height of the vehicle, SUVs tend to be heavier and more powerfulthan passenger cars.  The speed of the vehicle is also a key factor in survival.  At 20 mph, 5% of pedestrians are killed.  At 40 mph, the pedestrian fatality rate increases to 85%.

Pedestrian accidents are most common in urban areas. New York City has made a successful effort to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths by identifying and improving the safety of those intersections deemed the most dangerous.   In Scranton in 2012, a vehicle struck a pedestrian once a week, on average.  One quarter of these accidents occurred in downtown Scranton, resulting in an average fatality rate greater than that not only of the rest of the state, but of the nation.

The attorneys at Munley Law advise pedestrians to use caution at all times, whether jogging, walking, or crossing a street. Day or night.  If you are hit by a car, truck, or other vehicle, we can help you .

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