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Pedestrian deaths hit highest point since 1990

According to a recent report, which has attracted national media attention, 6,227 pedestrians across the country lost their lives in traffic accidents during 2018. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, which analyzed the report, this was an increase of 250 deaths over 2017 and was also the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990.

Over the last 10 or so years, the number of pedestrians killed on this country's roadways has increased by over 40 percent. Pedestrians now account for over 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. Safety experts and others are continuing to evaluate ways to make pedestrians safer and thereby reverse this alarming statistical trend.

Some who are familiar with the numbers have said that, part of the problem, is America's continued infatuation with the SUV, the pickup truck and other larger vehicles. Many people prefer these heavier vehicles to passenger cars, but the downside is that if they should get in an accident with a pedestrian, the blow is much more likely to be fatal.

Another issue is the ongoing problem with distracted driving, and particularly, with drivers using their cellphones to send texts or even to make conventional calls. To some extent, the problem is simply that many parts of the country are experiencing sustained population growth. Moreover, the economy remains strong enough, and gas prices low enough, such that people are taking more opportunities to drive.

Whatever the reasons for the continued safety issues facing pedestrians, the report serves as an important reminder to motorists in Edmonds and the Puget Sound area to slow down and drive carefully, especially when in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present. For their part, victims of a crosswalk accident or other pedestrian accident may have the option to pursue compensation under Washington law.

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