For the 6th year in a row, New Mexico has the highest fatal pedestrian crash rate
Amid a national surge in fatal pedestrian accidents, New Mexico remains the most deadly state for people on foot.
In 2021, for the sixth year in a row, New Mexico reported the highest fatal pedestrian accident rate in the U.S. There were 4.77 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 people, according to new research by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The GHSA says there were 103 pedestrian deaths in New Mexico last year. This is an increase of about 24 percent over 2020.
The injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents can be life-changing, which is why more needs to be done to protect our most vulnerable road users. Still, victims have recourse through the civil justice system. If you were hit by a car while crossing the street, you need to make sure you explore all your legal options to hold the at-fault driver accountable and recover the compensation you're entitled to. A pedestrian accident attorney can be your voice for justice and fight for every dollar you deserve.
Why are fatal pedestrian accidents increasing?
The national fatal pedestrian accident rate has shot up by 11 percent from 2020 to 2021. There were about 7,485 pedestrian traffic deaths nationwide last year, the GHSA says.
One reason for the high number of fatalities is the overall vulnerability of non-motorists. When a car hits a person, even at low speeds, it can cause death or life-threatening injuries for the person on foot. Common injuries in nonfatal pedestrian accidents include concussions, brain damage, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, and broken bones in the legs, arms, and pelvis.
There are many other factors contributing to the sharp increase in deadly pedestrian accidents, according to researchers, including:
- Increased negligent driving behavior. During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies propose that reckless drivers took the absence of traffic as a sign to let their good driving habits slip. Reckless driving increased and included things like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI), distracted driving, texting while driving, and falling asleep at the wheel.
- Speeding. Last year, the number of pedestrian accidents where speeding was a factor increased by more than 8.5 percent.
- General lack of sidewalks.
- Inadequate street lighting.
- Unmarked and/or infrequent pedestrian crossings.
- SUVs. A collision with this large and popular vehicle type is more likely to be deadly than being hit by a smaller vehicle.
New Mexico's response
Responding to the surge in pedestrian deaths, New Mexico public safety leaders announced a five-year plan to reduce fatal crashes. The plan calls for various measures, including:
- Conducting pedestrian safety awareness campaigns.
- Assist communities with prioritizing pedestrian safety.
- Improve infrastructure.
- Increased enforcement of laws that protect all road users.
Do you need a pedestrian accident attorney?
If you were injured or a loved one died in a pedestrian accident, you need to have a clear understanding of your legal rights and options. Insurance companies are well-known for making lowball settlement offers because their main concern is protecting their bottom line. They're not looking out for your best interests, and if you represent yourself, you run the risk of losing out on the compensation you're entitled to.
At the Szantho Law Firm, we know how to stand up for injured pedestrians in New Mexico. We can handle every aspect of your claim and aggressively advocate for the outcome your case deserves. Discover what a legal warrior can do for you, and contact us today for a free consultation. Our law firm has offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.