Residents of Bozeman may feel as if they have been hearing more and more about pedestrian accidents in recent years. This is likely because the number of pedestrian deaths has been on the rise across the country until lately. From 2009 to 2012, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 15 percent even though the total number of car accident deaths decreased by 3 percent. However, it does appear that the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths has now reversed.
The Governors Highway Safety Association recently reported that pedestrian traffic deaths dropped by 8.7 percent in the first six months of 2013, compared to the time period in 2012. Exactly what is causing this pendulum swing is not clear.
Researchers seem to believe that pedestrian deaths increased due to a variety of factors, including milder weather, health and environmental concerns and the recession motivating people to walk more. At the same time as more pedestrians hit the streets, distracted driving became more and more common—making the roads and sidewalks all the more hazardous.
Why pedestrian fatalities dropped in 2013 might be less understood, since many of the above mentioned factors still exist. Researchers have suggested that education and traffic initiatives may have fostered safer conditions for pedestrians.
Whatever the case may be, it is good to see that some of the risks to pedestrian safety may be disappearing. Nonetheless, the truth still is that thousands of people are hit and killed by cars every year in this country. Often, drunk driving, distracted driving or speeding is to blame for these car accidents. When a Montana resident loses his or her life due to such forms of negligence, his or her loved ones have the right to pursue justice and compensation.
Source: Forbes, “Pedestrian Deaths Down In First Half of 2013, Report Says,” Tanya Mohn, March 5, 2014