The number of pedestrians killed after being struck by a motor vehicle in California and around the country has increased by 35% in just the last 10 years, and pedestrian fatalities have now reached a level last seen 30 years ago. When the Governors Highway Safety Association studied rising pedestrian fatality figures in 2019, the nonprofit group concluded that an increase in foot traffic, the rising popularity of large SUVs and pickup trucks, and a surge in distracted and impaired driving were largely responsible.

According to the GHSA’s most recent pedestrian safety report, accidents that take place at night are the cause of about 90% of the increase in pedestrian fatalities. The road safety advocacy organization says that nighttime pedestrian accidents are common because road users on foot are more difficult to see in the dark, and more drivers are impaired by drugs or alcohol in the late evening and early morning hours.

New vehicle registrations across the country reveal that more Americans are choosing full-size SUVs and pickup trucks over sedans and minivans. This is bad news for pedestrians because studies have shown that being struck by such a vehicle while crossing the street or out walking is far more likely to cause death or catastrophic injury than being hit by a smaller car. The conclusions of these studies are supported by statistics revealing that the number of full-size SUVs involved in fatal pedestrian accidents has increased by about 50% since 2013.

When pedestrian accident victims pursue civil remedies by filing lawsuits against the negligent drivers who struck them, they are often accused of jaywalking or ignoring traffic signals. Personal injury attorneys with experience in these cases may anticipate this defense strategy, and they might find evidence to refute comparative negligence claims by studying police reports, checking security camera footage and interviewing eyewitnesses.