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Pedestrian deaths on the rise in America

New Jersey residents may be interested to hear the results of a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association that found that 5,997 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2016, which was an 11 percent increase from 2015. It was also the deadliest year for pedestrians since 1996. The 2016 data is a part of an upward trend that saw pedestrian deaths increase by 12 percent from 2006 to 2015.

In contrast, the number of all traffic fatalities decreased 18 percent during that period. While error on the part of both drivers and pedestrians may be to blame, the way that crosswalks are designed may also increase the danger a pedestrian faces. Those who live in low-income or minority communities are less likely to have access to crosswalks or other features that allow them to ride or bike safely.

That was according to a white paper created in 2016 by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Another paper written by Smart Growth America found that roads without crosswalks or lanes for pedestrians encouraged cars to drive faster. A representative from the Federal Highway Administration said that part of the issue is that cities were designed decades earlier in a time when everyone had a car.

An individual who suffers serious injuries in a pedestrian accident may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. However, it will have to be demonstrated by counsel that the driver of the car involved was negligent in some fashion. This could occur if, for example, the driver failed to yield to a pedestrian who had the right of way at the time of the accident.

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