Pedestrian deaths spike in Maryland, across U.S.

Statistics show that people on foot in Maryland face significant risks today. In 2018, pedestrian deaths in the U.S. rose and accounted for 16% of all vehicular fatalities. In that same year, pedestrian fatalities in Maryland accounted for 26% of all accident deaths.

Spring is a time of year that many people in Maryland look forward to as the temperate weather makes it more conducive to being outdoors after the winter months. Unfortunately, when walking or running and sharing the roads with vehicles, pedestrians must be ever aware of the risks they face. Even as more new vehicles today come equipped with advanced safety features, more people on foot are being killed in traffic accidents.

A deadly trend for pedestrians in the U.S.

According to a report by The Verge, the United States experienced a decline in total deaths in automobile accidents in 2018 by 2.4% over the prior year. Unfortunately, in that same period, pedestrian deaths jumped by 3.4%.

CNBC provided additional granularity on the severity of this trend as data shows that the increase in deaths among foot traffic between 2008 and 2018 was 41%. In 2018, pedestrians accounted for 16% of all people killed in vehicular accidents nationwide.

An even deadlier trend for pedestrians in Maryland

While pedestrians represented 16% of U.S. vehicular fatalities in 2018, they represented a staggering 26% of vehicular fatalities in Maryland. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that this was the highest percentage of overall vehicular deaths in the state in the prior decade and the number of pedestrians who perished that year was also greater than in the prior 10 years. In 2018, there were 128 pedestrian deaths in Maryland, up from 117 in 2017, 108 in 2016 and 97 in 2015.

As with the national experience, total vehicular fatalities in Maryland dropped from 2017 to 2018 while pedestrian fatalities rose. In 2018, there were 501 lives lost in accidents, up from 558 in 2017.

Conflicting reports about vehicle safety features

Two studies reviewed the performance of vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems to see how effective these systems were at preventing pedestrian accidents. In one study, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nine out of the 11 small sport utility vehicles (SUVs) evaluated were given an endorsement of either advanced or superior. This study would make it seem that these systems have the ability to save lives.

The other study, conducted by AAA, however, found quite different results. This study revealed that pedestrian dummies were struck 60% of the time when test cars with automatic emergency brakes and pedestrian detection alerts were driving in daylight hours at speeds of only 20 mph.

Pedestrians deserve better

People should not have to fear for their lives every time they take the dog for a walk, go for a run or even walk across a parking lot to an office building or into a store. Contacting an attorney after any pedestrian accident is important for people to learn how to protect their rights.