Rising pedestrian fatalities and auto insurance

October 17, 2023

Traffic fatalities have been on the rise in recent years. According to the Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities in 2022 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic fatalities in the United States have increased from 32,479 in 2011, to 42,795 in 2022.

However, last year is not the deadliest year on record—that dubious honor belongs to 1972 with 56,278 deaths, per the National Safety Council. However, fatalities increasing by about a quarter over this period is pretty jarring—and it’s even worse for pedestrians.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association released its preliminary report on pedestrian fatalities for 2022: “GHSA projects 7,508 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes …This continues the upward trend that the United States has been experiencing for decades and represents the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1981.” This an 1% increase from 2021.

The report included data from 49 states and the District of Columbia: Oklahoma was excluded by GHSA in the report as the state was unable to provide the data it was tracking.

With these trends it is important to keep your auto insurance up to date—whether you are a driver or even a pedestrian.

For car owners, reviewing auto insurance coverage should be a regular occurrence—your professional insurance agent can help you. While the root cause for accidents is varied (e.g., sudden distractions in the car, driving a bulky vehicle with limited visibility), these scenarios can fit anyone and lead to others unintentionally getting injured.

In the case of pedestrians, if they are injured in a car accident, they have a few options to cover their expenses. For instance, they may choose to go through their health insurance to pay for their injuries.

Auto insurance also offers several avenues for a pedestrian if they are hurt in a car accident. Personal Injury Protection will cover their medical expenses even if they aren’t in a vehicle. Medical Payments Coverage is similar, but “usually doesn’t cover as many expenses” according to All Law, a website that offers free legal information.

Further according to All Law, if the at-fault party flees the scene of an accident or they don’t have insurance, the injured party can file an underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage claim.

Finally, All Law writes that in no-fault states, such as New Jersey and New York, “drivers are required by law to insure themselves against potential injuries and damages caused by an auto accident.” Any collections for damages are first made through a PIP claim with the insurance policy.

Whether you are at-fault in an unfortunate accident, or the victim of one, it is important that you are covered adequately. Consult your independent insurance agent to discuss the auto coverage that should work for you.

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Matt McDonough is PIA Northeast's writer, editor and content curator. Matt joined PIA Northeast in September 2023. Before that, he had been an editor for the online entertainment magazine Collider from 2021-23 as a copy editor for its lists section. Matt entered the world of journalism at his alma mater, SUNY New Paltz, writing and reporting for the college's student run newspaper, The New Paltz Oracle. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing in 2020.

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