Pedestrian accidents are on the rise across the country, and New Mexico is no exception. In fact, New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per capita in 2017 and the first half of 2018. Why has it gotten so dangerous for walkers and runners around Albuquerque and Santa Fe? We take a look at the causes of these crashes here.
Crash Statistics That Make You Want to Stay Home
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 250 more people were killed in pedestrian accidents across the U.S. in 2018 than in 2017. The 6,227 pedestrians killed in 2018 represent the highest number of fatalities in 28 years. New Mexico saw a 47 percent increase in deaths between the first half of 2017 and the same period in 2018. We earned the dubious distinction of being the deadliest state per capita for pedestrians, with 2.26 deaths for every 100,000 residents. While this is an improvement over 2017, when New Mexico had 3.53 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 residents, repeating as the deadliest state is not an honor to be proud of.
Causes of Pedestrian Fatalities
Given the improvements in technology that have brought us more visible street crossings and obstacle warning sensors in vehicles, it may seem surprising that we are seeing more pedestrian deaths than ever. However, for every safety step forward we take, we often take two steps backward. Some of the factors that contribute to the increase in fatalities include:
- Bigger vehicles. The bigger the car is, the more damage it does—particularly when the target is a human being. With more pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles on the road than ever, it’s no wonder more pedestrians are being killed when they are struck. Full-size pickup trucks are the most popular vehicles in New Mexico, which starts to explain the high pedestrian fatality rate here.
- More people. With nearly a million people in metro Albuquerque, downtown areas have become more crowded. Workers, shoppers, and people enjoying the nightlife crowd the sidewalks right when vehicle traffic through town is also high. The busier a city is, the more likely pedestrians are to be hit, even when in crosswalks or on sidewalks.
- Distraction. Who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? This convenient device has also proven to be a major distraction for both drivers and pedestrians. As drivers glance down at texts or Waze directions, they can miss a pedestrian stepping out into a crosswalk. Likewise, people on foot who are unaware of their surroundings because they are looking at a phone put themselves in danger.
Not surprisingly, as pedestrian fatality rates are at a 28-year high, injury rates have also increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 130,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for crash-related injuries in 2016.
When and Where Pedestrian Accidents Happen
Intersections are not the most common location of fatal pedestrian accidents—only 18 percent of fatalities happen there, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Other data from NHTSA includes:
- Eighty percent of fatal crashes happen in urban areas.
- Three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur at night, mostly between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Over two-thirds of pedestrian victims are male.
- Adults between the ages of 50 and 59 have the highest number of pedestrian deaths.
- Nearly 20 percent of children under the age of 14 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
While these statistics tell us who may be most at risk, anyone can be hit by a car and seriously injured or killed. When this happens, you need an experienced pedestrian accident attorney by your side.
Keller & Keller Wants to Help You When You Are Injured in a Pedestrian Crash
Keller & Keller’s Albuquerque accident lawyers handle pedestrian accidents throughout New Mexico. We have more than 75 years of experience helping injured people, and many of those cases have involved pedestrian injuries and wrongful death. The sooner you call our office, the sooner we can begin investigating your claim. To speak to an attorney immediately, call 800-253-5537, or you use our free contact form on this page.