Pedestrian deaths on the rise

Pedestrian Deaths On The Rise

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise according to a new study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and predicts that 2015 pedestrian deaths will increase by ten percent over the previous year.

Data collection by safety organizations takes time and final fatality reports are normally 18 to 24 months behind. To conduct this study, the GHSA asked states for their preliminary data for the first six months of 2015 and compared those numbers to the first six months of 2014. According to the numbers, pedestrian deaths increased in 26 states and the District of Columbia. The rates were unchanged in three states and were down in 21 states.

The data shows that four states; California, Florida, Texas and New York, account for 42 percent of pedestrian deaths even though those states only make up 33 percent of the US population. Florida had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths but surprisingly, the number of pedestrian deaths in Florida declined by four percent over the previous year. Vermont had the lowest rate with zero pedestrian deaths.

While drivers necessarily deserve a lot of blame for pedestrian deaths, the pedestrians themselves must also share in the blame. Distractions for both drivers and pedestrians are on the increase with everyone feeling the need to stay connected online via texting or social media. The issue of texting while walking has become such a problem that the state of New Jersey and some US cities are considering laws to ban texting while walking. In England, a 20 foot statue spanning a walkway at the Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire had to be moved because pedestrians, with their eyes downcast looking at smartphones, kept bumping into it even though there was plenty of clearance to pass underneath.

A major problem for both drivers and pedestrians continues to be alcohol which was involved in approximately half of the pedestrian deaths. About 34 percent of pedestrians killed in crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher. Fifteen percent of drivers had a BAC of .08 or higher.

The time of day and place also played a part with 72 percent of pedestrian deaths happening during the hours of darkness. Most pedestrian deaths (74%) occur away from intersections.

According the the GHSA report, pedestrian deaths have been increasing steadily over the past ten years. (Click on the image to enlarge.)
Pedestrian deaths 2005 -2014

For more information, read: Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities By State – 2015