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Colorado Saw a Large Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities Between 2009 and 2018

A research analysis was released this month from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and AAA Colorado, looking at the data on all motor vehicle collisions that occurred in the United States between the years 2009 to 2018, and the results were troubling. 

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian traffic fatalities across the country were up around 53% in 2018, at 6,283 fatalities, compared to 2009 with 4,109 fatalities. But, in Colorado that number was substantially larger, with pedestrian fatalities up a whopping 89% in 2018, over the 2009 numbers!

AAA conducted the research in order to try and determine if there were any consistent pedestrian, driver, vehicle or environmental characteristics that could possibly account for the rise in pedestrian fatalities over this 10-year period of time. 

NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database includes all information on motor vehicle collisions in the country, that happen on public roadways and result in a fatality within 30 days of the crash. AAA specifically examined all FARS data for crashes that resulted in a pedestrian fatality over the selected time frame.  

The increase that can be seen nationally over this period of time, comes after three decades of pedestrian fatality rates actually decreasing, and it’s not too difficult to come up with some ideas of possible reasons for the increase. Smartphone usage in the U.S. really started to become widespread around 2010, and this adoption led inevitably to an increase in distracted driving behaviors.  

Consistent Fatal Pedestrian Accident Characteristics 

But outside of distracted driving, AAA did notice other characteristics around these fatal pedestrian accidents that, if payed proper attention to, can help us to make better decisions both behind the wheel, and also when we ourselves are pedestrians. 

In Colorado and around the country, the increase in accidents that resulted in a pedestrian fatality took place almost completely in urban areas, and specifically along major thoroughfares and in the middle of the block, not at intersections.  

It’s not surprising that the increase took place in urban areas, since those are densely populated regions. But the fact that they tended to happen in the middle of large city blocks, may suggest that there are not enough safe crossing options for pedestrians, or that too many pedestrians are taking chances by crossing in dangerous areas. 

In fact, according to the data, pedestrians who were struck somewhere other than at a designated crosswalk or intersection, increased 70% from 2009. Additionally, of all fatal pedestrian accidents in 2018, three out of four occurred in dark, poorly lit areas of the road, a number larger than the total number of pedestrian fatalities in 2009, 2010 or 2011. 

The director of public affairs for AAA Colorado, Skyler McKinley, stressed the importance of everyone doing their part to ensure the safety of others, as well as of themselves. Pedestrians need to make sure they’re crossing at safe, appropriate areas, drivers need to make sure they’re driving safely and watching the road, and governments need to ensure that local roadway designs are suited to protecting pedestrian safety, and that speed limits are appropriately set for high foot traffic areas. 

Related Reading: 2020 was the Deadliest Year for Colorado Springs Traffic Accidents on Record

Contact Our Colorado Springs Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today

Greg Green of the Green Law Firm P.C. in Colorado SpringsHave you or a loved one been injured by the negligent actions of a driver? Are you concerned you won’t have the money to pay medical bills and lost expenses? If so, you need an experienced Colorado Springs pedestrian accident lawyer on your side to help you fight for justice.

Contact the dedicated attorneys at the Green Law Firm, P.C. today by calling (719) 694-8515, or by filling out the contact form on this page, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your case.