Pedestrian Fatalities at a 28-Year High

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    March 4 2019

    The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently published a report entitled, “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State.” It shows that the number of pedestrians who were killed in road fatalities in the United States in 2018 is the highest number since 1990.

    GHSA is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit.  It represents the state and territorial traffic safety offices that implement federal grant programs and address behavioral highway safety issues.

    The GHSA’s goals include promoting traffic safety as a national priority and encouraging innovative approaches to Department of Transportation safety programs.

    Pedestrian accidents are on the rise.

    Report Data

    According to preliminary data, 6,227 pedestrians were killed in road fatalities in 2018.  This is a 51 percent increase compared to 2009.

    The GHSA report also indicated that:

    • For pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period for the last year (2017):
      • 25 states and Washington, D.C. had increases in fatalities
      • 23 states had decreases
      • 2 states remained the same
    • Only one death was reported in New Hampshire for the first half of 2018.
    • 432 deaths were reported in California for the first half of 2018.
    • Five states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) accounted for 46 percent of all pedestrian deaths.
    • The 10 states with the highest population growth from 2017 to 2018 (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, Texas and Washington) had an overall five percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities during the first six month of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.”

    Reasons for Increase in Number of Fatalities

    The GHSA has concluded that the increase in number of pedestrian fatalities include: economic conditions, population growth, weather conditions, fuel prices, vehicle miles traveled, and time that people spend walking.

    The GHSA also noted that the increase in number of pedestrian deaths may also be attributable to the increase of SUVs on the road.  Passenger vehicles are the largest category of traffic fatalities involving pedestrians; however, the number of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths increased at a faster rate for SUVs compared to passenger vehicles.

    Another contributing factor is smartphone use over the past decade, which is a significant source of distraction.  Distracted driving is a danger to all road users and a huge contributor to motor vehicle crashes.

    How to Prevent Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths

    The increase of pedestrian traffic deaths on U.S. roads is a huge problem.  What can be done to prevent these unfortunate tragedies?

    To prevent pedestrian crashes, the GHSA has recommended that states conduct public outreach campaigns, improve necessary infrastructure where needed, and copy jurisdictions that have implemented effective pedestrian safety measures.  For example, in Pennsylvania, law enforcement conduct sting operations to catch motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians who are in crosswalks. Other jurisdictions have had success with lowering speed limits in heavily populated urban areas and school zones.

    “While we have made progress reducing fatalities among many other road users in the past decade, pedestrian deaths have risen 35 percent,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “The alarm bells continue to sound on this issue; it’s clear we need to fortify our collective efforts to protect pedestrians and reverse the trend.”

    Experienced Las Vegas Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

    If you or a family member has been involved in a pedestrian accident, you may have a valid personal injury claim and should seek legal advice.  Contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation at (702) 987-0202.  

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