Several recent vehicle crashes involving pedestrians have prompted the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to remind both motorists and pedestrians how important it is to focus on safety. Utah is one of several states participating in the national Zero Fatalities campaign, a program designed to bring attention to all of the factors that contribute to unsafe driving and traffic fatalities. Pedestrian accidents are a component of this effort.
This year started badly: in early January, two pedestrians were killed in separate crashes in Layton on the same day. In February, two people were killed over two days on Salt Lake area interstates. In both of those cases, the victims had exited cars and were then struck. A five-year-old was struck in Magna. An 11-year-old in Orem. The list, sadly, goes on.
Data from the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) reveals a serious problem with interactions between pedestrians and motor vehicles. The numbers for auto-pedestrian crashes are up in almost every category: number of crashes, number of injuries, number of fatalities, and more. The numbers that are most alarming are probably the proportion of pedestrian-related crashes – now more than 15% of all vehicle crashes – and the rate of pedestrian crashes for the total population, which has increased by about 25% in the past decade.
These are not numbers in the abstract. Between 2005 and 2014, the latest year with complete data available, there were more than 7,500 crashes involving pedestrians in Utah. More than 6,700 people were injured, and 288 were killed. Pedestrians are “overrepresented in fatal crashes,” according to the DPS: they’re involved in only 1.4% of all crashes, but account for 12.7% of fatalities.
Utah isn’t alone in having a pedestrian crash problem. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates a 10% increase in pedestrian fatalities nationwide last year, the largest jump they’ve seen in 40 years of collecting data. Some individual states saw decreases, but more saw their fatality numbers rise. There are many suspected reasons for the increase, but one thing remains clear: both pedestrians and drivers need to be more alert and use more caution to improve overall safety for everyone.
Vehicle crashes can cause serious property damage and injury. If you’re a pedestrian who has been struck by a car, or if you’re a driver who’s been in a crash involving another car or a truck, you should have an experienced car crash attorney on your side. At Craig Swapp & Associates, we understand the complexities of auto accident law. Get in touch with us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 800-404-9000 or use our online contact form, or simply use the free live chat feature from any page on this website – someone is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day.