The growing number of pedestrians being struck and killed by drivers has lead Arizona to become one of the deadliest states for pedestrians. Since 2013, the rate of pedestrian deaths has steadily climbed year after year; in 2013 there were 151 deaths; 155 in 2014; 172 in 2015; 197 in 2016; and a whopping 230 in 2017. This has created a growing safety concern for Arizona residents, particularly those located in metro areas. The NHTSA has been searching for the root of this problem as well as potential solutions to solve this statewide crisis.
With Arizona’s low gas prices (compared to other parts of the country), there are simply more drivers on the road. Additionally, many individuals commute to work or school on foot or walk the streets for exercise. The largest known factor of traffic-related pedestrian deaths is motor vehicle speed. With high-speed limits in areas with large amounts of foot traffic, there is a likelihood for fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes to occur. When an oncoming vehicle hits a pedestrian while traveling 20 miles per hour, the pedestrian has a 10% chance of dying from their injuries. However, when that same vehicle is traveling 40 miles per hour, the pedestrian has an 80% chance of dying. Drunk and distracted drivers also contribute greatly to vehicle-pedestrian car crashes. In fact, nearly 15% of reported pedestrian fatalities were the result of drunk drivers on the roads.
Phoenix’s street transportation department is also concerned about the structural elements of the city’s streets and crosswalks. Many pedestrians are often spotted crossing streets mid-block, putting themselves at a larger risk to be struck and injured by oncoming vehicles. The signals at crosswalks allow pedestrians to safely cross streets at designated areas, however, the NHTSA has recently determined that there are simply not enough pedestrian traffic signals located at the busiest street locations. Phoenix, in particular, is known for our non-traditional High-Intensity Activated Crosswalks (HAWKS), which have flashing red lights, indicating when it is safe for pedestrians to cross the street. There are currently forty HAWKS in place. However, due to the recent decline in pedestrian safety, the city plans to implement eleven more HAWKS. Additionally, the city is stationing more police officers are stationed around areas with heavy foot traffic, including near the various light rail stations in metro areas in order to stop mid-block crossers.
Arizona government officials have deemed the root of the problem to be a lack of public awareness. In 2018, the state of Arizona has received $800,000 in funding to spend on initiatives to help increase pedestrian safety. This state funding is being used to educate pedestrians as well as drivers about safety and to spread general awareness about this problem. The money is also going towards installing more high intensity activated crosswalks.
In the case where driver strikes and injures a pedestrian, the state of Arizona has a comparative negligence law. This means that even if the injured person is at all responsible for his or her injuries, he or she is still entitled to receive compensation for his or her injuries. However, since many pedestrians feel partially responsible for their injuries, they do not reach out for legal help. Here at Torgenson Law, we have a team of seasoned pedestrian accident attorneys, who have the experience and knowledge to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know has been injured due to the negligence of another, do not hesitate to contact us at (602) 726-0747.