PEDESTRIAN AND MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS ACCOUNT IN PART FOR HIGHEST TRAFFIC DEATH TOLL SINCE 1990

Traffic deaths in the United States in 2005 — 43,443 — reached their highest levels since 1990, according to government statistics cited by the Insurance Journal, The increase was more than 1 percent compared to 2004.

This increase was attributed in part to increased deaths from motorcycle and pedestrian accidents. One possible explanation for the spike in this particular segment of the population is that — as our urban/suburban populations rise, and our roads and highways become more crowded — we as drivers focus most on what endangers us — the bigger, looming objects on the roads like trucks and SUV’s — and we don’t look for or just don’t see the smaller figures on the roads like motorcyclists and pedestrians.

The lessons to all of us? Driving is not just about protecting ourselves; it’s also about looking for and protecting others, especially those who most need our protection — like the elderly pedestrian who is not alert or the child running mindlessly across a neighborhood street.