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GHSA releases worrying pedestrian fatality report

The number of deadly pedestrian accidents around the country increased alarmingly in 2016 according to figures from the Governors Highway Safety Association. A report from the nonprofit organization of state safety offices reveals that 5,997 pedestrians were killed on the nation's roads last year, and many of these accidents took place in New York. The figures mark the continuation of a disturbing trend. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12 percent from 4,795 to 5,376 between 2006 and 2015, and the 2016 death toll represents an 11 percent year-over-year surge according to the GHSA.

While overall accident fatality figures have been falling due largely to improvements in automobile safety systems, GHSA figures suggest that those who choose to travel on foot are becoming increasingly vulnerable. The major thoroughfares in many metropolitan areas were built decades ago when foot traffic was rare, and pedestrians in cities around the country today are often forced to contend with inadequately maintained sidewalks and poorly designed intersections.

Research indicates that the problem is particularly pronounced in immigrant and low-income neighborhoods. African American pedestrians are almost twice as likely to be killed as whites traveling on foot according to a study released in January by Smart Growth America, and Hispanic pedestrians are 50 percent more likely to be struck and killed by a motor vehicle according to the Washington-based advocacy group. A similar survey published in 2016 by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center suggests that residents of poor and immigrant communities are more likely to travel on roads lacking accessibility features like sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

Many deadly pedestrian accidents are caused by distracted, intoxicated or otherwise negligent drivers. The dependent family members of pedestrians killed by reckless motorists are often faced with crippling medical bills and funeral expenses after losing the paycheck of a breadwinner, and experienced personal injury attorneys may seek compensation for them by pursuing wrongful death litigation on their behalf.

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