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Pedestrian deaths may have reached a 30-year high in 2019 according to a preliminary study from the Governors Highway Safety Administration. Drivers and pedestrians in Kentucky should know that the number of pedestrian deaths has been continually going up since 2009. Though the GHSA study had incomplete data to rely on for 2019, its estimates indicate a continuing rise in fatalities.

There were an estimated 6,590 pedestrian deaths in this country in 2019. This is 5% more than in 2018 and 60% more than in 2009, when 4,109 pedestrian deaths were reported. In fact, this is the highest that the number has been since 1988.

California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida saw the most deaths. These states, in which roughly one-third of the U.S. population resides, accounted for 47% of the fatalities. Fatality rates per 100,000 people were at their highest in Florida, New Mexico and Hawaii. The lowest rates were in Wisconsin, Idaho and Vermont.

From 2009 to 2018, all other traffic deaths saw a 2% increase. One reason for this disproportionate rise in pedestrian deaths is greater phone use among drivers; another is the growing popularity of SUVs and light trucks. These vehicles, which are more liable to inflict fatal injuries on pedestrians, composed 69% of new vehicle sales in 2019 but only 48% in 2009.

Victims of pedestrian accidents who have survived but suffered severe injuries may seek compensation for losses like past and future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Filing a personal injury claim can be hard since auto insurance companies tend to put up a fight to avoid paying out a reasonable amount in damages. It may be beneficial, then, to hire a lawyer for assistance with negotiations and, as a last resort, with the litigation process.