More and more pedestrians are being killed in Oregon and across the U.S., and a preliminary study of traffic deaths in 2019 has shown that the trend is far from being reversed. The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA), which conducted the study, estimates that there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths in 2019: a 5% increase from the previous year and a 60% jump from 2009.

In 2009, a total of 4,109 pedestrians were killed. It is a crucial year as it represents the start of the upward trend. Between 1988 and 2009, pedestrian deaths were seeing a continual decline. In fact, 6,590 deaths is the highest since 1988. The fatality rate was calculated to be two deaths per 100,000 people: the highest since 1997.

Five states accounted for 47% of the fatalities: California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida. About one third of the U.S. population resides in these five states. The fatality rates were highest in New Mexico, Hawaii and Florida and lowest in Idaho, Wisconsin and Vermont.

The GHSA says that the numbers go up because, for one thing, more drivers are being distracted by phones. It also cites the growing popularity of SUVs and light trucks. Pedestrians struck by large SUVs run double the risk for being killed than if they were struck by an ordinary car.

Of course, not all pedestrian accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted, speeding or negligent in some other way. This is why injured pedestrians who intend to file a claim may want to learn more about negligence laws in this state. A lawyer may explain how the laws apply to their case during a free consultation. If hired, the lawyer may assist with the filing and even negotiate on victims’ behalf for a settlement with the auto insurance company.