Pedestrians in Arkansas may have more reason to fear traffic accidents than drivers or passengers, according to data compiled by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). While the rate of fatalities among drivers and passengers has gone up only 2% in the past decade, pedestrian deaths rose 5% from 2018 to 2019 alone.

It is important for both drivers and pedestrians in Arkansas to understand why these numbers have changed over the years and what they need to be aware of before heading towards the road.

Possible causes

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for the past decade. Though these deaths decreased for a while after 1988, they began steadily increasing year after year starting in 2009. One reason why other traffic accidents have not experienced the same increase could be that vehicles have developed improved safety measures over the decades. As a result, the number of passenger deaths went down 25% from 1975 to 2018.

Another cause of pedestrian accidents could be the use of cell phones and other distractions. The risk for pedestrians is even worse at night, suggesting that drivers are failing to see people on the road. In the past 10 years, nighttime pedestrian fatalities increased by 67% whereas the number of daytime pedestrian fatalities has increased only by 16%.

Pedestrians are also affected by the increasing popularity of SUVs and other light trucks. These types of vehicles, which are twice as likely to kill a pedestrian than smaller cars, comprised 69% of all new car sales in 2018 as compared to 48% in 2009.

Though pedestrians can sometimes contribute to the occurrence of accidents, these types of accidents often do not occur absent some negligence on the part of a driver. If someone is injured in a pedestrian accident as a result of another driver’s negligence or bad driving, that person may be entitled to recover medical costs or other damages from the driver. The best way to determine if a possible claim exists is to consult with a personal injury attorney.