In the U.S., the pedestrian fatality rate also remains at a historically high level
Pedestrian accident fatalities in Louisiana and across the nation reached a record high last year, alarming state and federal traffic safety officials who fear things might only get worse based on the steady upward trend of traffic deaths over the past two years.
"We saw the trend increasing during the summer months,” said Rodney Mallett, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. “(Then) we had one of the worst Thanksgiving holidays ever, so we knew that the holiday season was off to a bad start." Mallet was quoted in a report by WDSU News.
Louisiana pedestrian fatalities set record
In 2021, U.S. pedestrian fatalities increased to their highest level “in a single year in four decades,” according to a study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) based on data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During the first half of last year, pedestrian fatalities increased by 17% nationwide compared to the first six months of 2020. Specifically, there were 2,957 U.S. pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2021 and 7,485 projected pedestrian fatalities for all of last year.
The problem was even worse in Louisiana. During the first six months of 2021, a total of 88 pedestrians died in Louisiana accidents. That figure is 20.55% higher compared to the first six months of 2020, when 73 pedestrian deaths were recorded in the state.
As for the whole year, an estimated 175 pedestrians were killed in accidents in Louisiana, which represents a 17.5% increase over 2020, when there were 149 pedestrian deaths. To put those figures in perspective, there were more Louisiana pedestrian fatalities in 2020 than any other year over the last decade.
Why pedestrian accidents are increasing
Pedestrian fatalities increased last year for several reasons. According to the GHSA, speeding drivers, in particular, were especially responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of pedestrian deaths last year. Specifically, pedestrian fatalities caused by speeding drivers increased by 8.6% in 2021.
Other common reasons why pedestrian accidents happen, according to the GHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), include:
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol – An estimated 46% of pedestrian accidents nationwide involve drunk drivers.
- Poor lighting conditions – Roughly 75% of pedestrian accidents occur at night when it’s harder to see people crossing the street or walking alongside the road.
- Lack of sidewalks – About 67% of pedestrian fatalities occur on streets where there is no sidewalk.
There are a number of other factors that are likely contributing to the rise in pedestrian fatalities, but the key takeaway is that reckless driving will always play an important role. That's why it's so critical to hold negligent drivers accountable and send a message that's loud and clear: "this type of behavior will not be tolerated on our roads and highways."
Speak to a New Orleans pedestrian accident attorney
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case. Instead of the insurance company dictating what happens with your claim, your attorney can look out for your best interests and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you were hit by a car in New Orleans, attorney John S. Williams can help. At the Law Offices of John S. Williams, LLC, we understand how the legal system works in Louisiana and can be your advocate for justice. You can trust us to make things right.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today and schedule a free consultation with a Louisiana pedestrian accident attorney who believes in fighting for what's right, what's fair, and what's just. We're located in New Orleans, and we proudly handle injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits for clients throughout the state.