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SUVs and smartphones contributing to rise in pedestrian deaths

The Vision Zero program in New York City that began in 2014 appears to have reduced pedestrian deaths even while the problem has ballooned throughout much of the nation. The city was among 10 large urban areas that experienced a collective drop of 15 percent in the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2017. The program reduced speed limits in the city to improve safety, but people on foot continue to face a dangerous landscape. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association calculated that pedestrian deaths nationwide have jumped 51.5 percent since 2009. The report blamed multiple factors on the deadly trend.

The increasing number of sport utility vehicles on the road have contributed to the loss of life. SUVs have a higher front-end, and this design doubles the risk that the vehicles will kill a pedestrian compared to lower-profile sedans. Since 2013, pedestrian deaths that involved SUVs increased by 50 percent.

Smartphone distraction also appears to play a role. Although police often have difficulty determining if smartphones were the cause of an accident, drivers are known to use them behind the wheel. Between 2010 and 2017, a five-fold increase in the use of smartphones occurred among consumers.

A pedestrian who survives getting hit by a vehicle will likely have significant injuries. High medical expenses and a long recovery time could leave the victim in financial distress. If a negligent driver caused the accident, then an attorney could manage the research and paperwork necessary for a personal injury claim. An attorney might identify insurance coverage to compensate the victim.

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