Nighttime Pedestrian Fatalities on the Rise: A New York Times Investigation

The New York Times recently conducted a revealing investigation into the increasing number of nighttime pedestrian fatalities in the United States. Surprisingly, after decades of decline, pedestrian fatalities, especially those occurring in the dark, began to rise again in 2009. In 2021, 7300 American pedestrians lost their lives, with three-quarters of the fatalities happening at night.

Analyzing the data, a clear pattern emerged—the number of deaths closely mirrored the time of sunset each month. During months with earlier sunsets, like winter, pedestrian deaths peaked around sunset, regardless of the actual time of day.

Causes and Contributors

Researchers identified various potential causes to nighttime pedestrian fatalities, including inadequate road designs in the U.S. and pedestrians’ failure to wear reflective clothing. However, the primary contributor appears to be smartphone use. In the U.S., smartphone use by drivers peaks during the evening, surpassing rates in other countries. This factor likely explains the unique increase in nighttime pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. compared to peer countries.

An American Problem

The upward trend in nighttime pedestrian fatalities is a distinctly American problem. Countries like Great Britain, Canada, and Norway boast significantly lower rates of pedestrian fatalities. Interestingly, in these countries, pedestrians are more likely to be struck and killed during the day than at night. Studies have found that American drivers tend to interact with their smartphones three times as much as British drivers. This is a significant factor contributing to the increased number of pedestrian accidents in the U.S.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our seasoned personal injury attorneys have represented clients in various scenarios, including pedestrians injured by inattentive drivers during the evening. With over 200 years of combined legal experience, our team works tirelessly under Florida law to seek justice for accident victims. If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Florida, contact our firm today at contact@schwedlawfirm.com or by telephone at (877) 694-6079 for a free consultation on your legal rights.