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Pedestrian fatality report makes grim reading

New York is one of the most dangerous states in the country for pedestrians according to a report released in March 2016 by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The Empire State, along with Florida, Texas and California, accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015. The 2,368 pedestrians who lost their lives on the nation's roads during the first six months of 2015 represented a 6 percent increase over the first six months of 2014, but experts say that the increase could be as high as 10 percent when the entire year is looked at.

The report cites a variety of factors that may have contributed to the increased pedestrian fatality rate ranging from warmer weather to the health benefits of walking, but the overall tone of the document remained somber. The report warns that 2015 will see the largest year-on-year increase in pedestrian deaths since NHTSA began tracking them in 1975.

The findings may be particularly troubling for lawmakers and safety advocates because many of the underlying factors are likely to play a bigger impact in the coming years. The report notes that gas prices look set to stay low for the foreseeable future and warmer weather combined with growing health concerns could lead to a surge in foot traffic on the nation's roads.

Establishing liability is often a highly contentious process in lawsuits stemming from motor vehicle accidents, but this may not be the case when the action is being brought in connection with a pedestrian accident that occurred on a sidewalk or in a marked intersection. The defendants in car accident lawsuits often accuse the plaintiff of acting negligently and being at least partially responsible, but this may be difficult to do when the very site of the accident indicates that the responsibility belongs to the driver.

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