Off the top of your head, if you have to guess which year had more pedestrian deaths, which one would you pick: 2006 or 2015?

Most people would choose 2006, a selection born out of the idea that as time goes on, we improve as a society. Thus, 2006 would have more pedestrian deaths than 2015. This is an idealistic view of the world, and it isn’t without merit in certain cases. But in the case of pedestrian safety, it is unfortunately a misguided view. 2015 actually had more pedestrian deaths than 2006, and by a significant margin.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,795 pedestrian deaths in 2006. In 2015, that number was 5,376, representing an increase of 12.1 percent. Pedestrian injuries also increased over these years, with 2006 seeing about 61,000 pedestrians injured and 2015 seeing about 70,000 pedestrians injured. That’s a 14.8 percent increase. 

It isn’t clear exactly why these numbers are going up. Are drivers just less aware nowadays? Are streets more dangerous than in previous years? Are new laws driving this increase? Unfortunately there are no answers to these questions right now.

But what is clear is that pedestrians are an at-risk group out on the road. They can suffer terrible injuries when they are involved in an accident. And if that accident was at the hands of a reckless or negligent driver, then legal action should be considered.

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, “Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crash Statistics,” Accessed July 13, 2017