The increase in motor vehicle fatalities throughout 2020 has been well-documented. A worldwide health crisis led to people both staying and working in their homes. Instead of clogging up the roads with traffic jams, cars remained in driveways and garages. A smaller number of vehicles should have meant fewer deaths.
However, as with anything with the pandemic, the unexpected occurred, and predictions did not reflect the tragic reality. Everything pointed to fewer pedestrian deaths during a health crisis, not a significant increase in fatalities. Apparently, the wide-open roads were too tempting for drivers who put the pedal to the metal without considering the consequences.
Last year saw pedestrian fatalities jump from 2019, according to a report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Projections of pedestrians hit and killed in 2020 come in at 6,721, a five percent jump from the previous year. Factoring in the smaller number of drivers brings the percentage up to 21.
The statistic represents the most significant annual increase since the mid-1970s when data was first collected. The once-busy arterial roads were the setting for most fatalities, with drivers pushing the limit when it comes to the temptation of driving at excessive speeds. Alcohol impairment of the driver or the walker played a role in half of the deadly crashes.
When a car and a human being collide, the vehicle will suffer damage that can be repaired. However, the unintended target who doesn’t have the luxury of a steal structure protecting them will likely suffer injuries that are at best disabling and fatal at worst.