The Texas Department of Transportation’s Mission Zero initiative, which the agency announced in May 2019, aims to cut traffic deaths in the Lone Star State in half by 2035 and eliminate them completely by 2050. Preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Administration suggest that this goal may be difficult to achieve. The figures indicate that pedestrian fatalities rose nationwide by 5% in 2019, which continues a worrying trend that began in 2009. If the numbers prove correct, pedestrian deaths will have risen by an alarming 60% in just 10 years. The 6,950 pedestrian fatalities in 2019 would also be the highest death toll since 1988.
Pedestrian fatalities are a thorny problem for Texas officials
The problem is especially serious in Texas, which is one of five states that account for almost half of the pedestrian deaths in the United States despite being home to just a third of the population. One of the reasons Texas roads are so dangerous for pedestrians is the popularity of large pickup trucks and SUVs. Studies have revealed that individuals struck by larger and heavier vehicles are about twice as likely to be killed as those struck by cars. Light trucks and SUVs now account for 69% of new vehicle registrations in America. That figure is even higher in Texas.
Many pedestrians are killed by distracted drivers
Accidents that claim the lives of pedestrians are often caused by drivers distracted by cellphones or sophisticated navigation and entertainment systems. Harsh fines for using mobile devices while behind the wheel and powerful public information campaigns have failed to address the problem. Semiautonomous automobile safety systems capable of combating distraction do little to protect pedestrians as they are designed primarily to avoid collisions with other motor vehicles.
Pursuing compensation for traffic accident victims
If a member of your family was killed after being struck by a negligent driver, an experienced personal injury attorney could initiate wrongful death litigation on your behalf. This lawsuit could seek compensation for losses you incurred like medical bills and funeral expenses. If your deceased family member was a breadwinner, your attorney could also pursue compensation for that lost income.