Texas has one of the highest pedestrian-fatality rates nationwide

Pedestrian deaths in Texas are among the highest in the U.S. due to a confluence of factors.

Texas ranks among the top five states in the country with the most pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, according to the Texas Patch. That fact, based on a recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), also shows that fatal pedestrian accidents have reached a 25-year high across the United States. While some of the reasons for the increase are difficult to avoid, such as an improving economy and lower gas prices, other factors are entirely preventable, such as distracted driving and driving while under the influence.

Pedestrian deaths keep climbing

Nationwide, pedestrian deaths stayed near 6,000 in 2017, which was about the same as they were the year before. That means that pedestrian fatalities remain stubbornly high at numbers not seen in a quarter of a century. Between 2007 and 2016, pedestrian fatalities climbed by 27 percent despite deaths from all other accidents climbing by 14 percent over the same period.

Texas is one of the five states (the other four being California, Florida, New York, and Arizona) that collectively accounts for 43 percent of all U.S. pedestrian deaths, despite those five states containing just 30 percent of the population. Even on a per capita basis, Texas still ranked high for pedestrian fatalities, with 0.93 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, which is the 13th highest in the U.S.

Causes are largely preventable

The reasons behind the increase in fatalities are multifaceted. Some are impossible or at least very difficult to control. For example, an improving economy combined with lower gas prices means that there are simply more vehicles on the roads, which in turn increases the chances of pedestrian accidents happening. Also, more people are moving to urban areas where such accidents are more likely to occur.

However, some causes are entirely preventable. As the Washington Post reports, both distracted driving an d impaired driving are major factors in the spike. Pedestrian deaths correlate with smartphone adoption rates while states that have legalized recreational marijuana have seen a big jump in pedestrian fatalities. Street design also plays a big role. Poorer neighborhoods have much higher rates of pedestrian accidents largely because they lack the protective and walkable street infrastructure that more affluent neighborhoods enjoy.

Personal injury law

The growing number of pedestrian fatalities should serve as a reminder that anybody who has been hurt in an accident should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The financial toll that an accident can take can be high, including for medical bills, lost income, property damage, and more. An experienced attorney can help clients learn about what compensation may be available and assist them with filing any claims they may be entitled to.