We all know that it is dangerous to talk or text on the phone while driving. Yet, we still answer calls or check to see who sent a text. When we do, we could be putting others at risk. A November 2013 study by scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that pedestrian accident deaths are increasing and that driver distraction is a major contributor to that increase.
The researchers used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database to find information about accidents that occurred from 2005 to 2010 and resulted in at least one fatality. They identified the crashes that involved drivers who were distracted by cell phones, computers, two-way radios, navigation systems, and heads-up displays.
They found that the fatality rate had significantly increased from 2005 to 2010 for both pedestrians and bicyclists.
- 2005 – 116.1 pedestrian deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled
- 2010 – 168.6 pedestrian deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled
- 2005 – 18.7 bicyclist deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled
- 2010 – 24.6 bicyclist deaths per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled
FARS data shows that distracted driving is the most probable cause for the increase. In 2005, 344 pedestrians were killed by distracted drivers and 500 hundred were killed in 2010. This is a 50 percent increase in five years. The number of bicyclists killed by distracted drivers increased by 30 percent during that period, from 56 deaths to 73.
Distracted drivers are 1.6 times more likely to fatally hit pedestrians in marked crosswalks as non-distracted drivers. They are three times as likely to hit pedestrians on the shoulder of the road. Victims were more likely to be hit by a distracted driver outside of a crosswalk.
Pedestrians and bicyclists account for only 10 percent of distracted driving deaths. The other 90 percent are passengers and drivers in motor vehicles.
The researchers who conducted the study believe that mixing motor vehicles with bicycles and pedestrians is a deadly combination. They recommend sidewalk construction, separate bicycle lanes, and clearly-marked, well-lighted crosswalks. They also suggest that increased awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists could help prevent crashes.
Drivers have a duty to watch for pedestrians. If you or someone you love was injured by a distracted driver, you have a right to demand accountability. We encourage you to contact Kaufman Law today to learn how a Georgia accident claim can help you get justice.