America’s roads are getting ever more dangerous for pedestrians, a new study finds.
During the first six months of 2021, there was a 17% increase in pedestrian deaths in the United States — and that just continues the sharp increase seen over the previous 10 years, the researchers noted.
There were over 3,400 pedestrian deaths nationwide in the first six months of 2021, which is 507 more than during the same period in 2020.
That translated into just over one pedestrian death per 100,000 people during the first six months of 2021, compared with 0.90 per 100,000 in both 2019 and 2020, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) analysis showed.
The overall number of pedestrian deaths rose from 4,457 in 2011 to 6,516 in 2020, a 46% increase, according to the report.
The continuing rise in pedestrian deaths comes as speeding, impaired and distracted driving, and other dangerous driver behaviors remain at unacceptably high levels, the association noted.
The GHSA said pedestrian fatalities increased in 39 states and Washington, D.C., during the first half of 2021, but fell in 11 states. Three states — California, Florida and Texas — that have 27% of the U.S. population accounted for 37% of all pedestrian deaths nationwide in the first six months of 2021.
“Walking is the most basic form of transportation, but there is a pedestrian safety crisis due to drivers speeding, being impaired or distracted, or engaging in other dangerous behaviors,” said GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins.
“We need to leverage everything that works — infrastructure improvements, changes to road design, equitable enforcement of traffic safety laws and community outreach — to reverse this deadly trend and make our roadways safe for people walking, biking and rolling,” Adkins said in a GHSA news release.
Overall, traffic deaths are also surging, the GHSA noted.
In the first three quarters of 2021, there were 31,720 crash deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s the highest number during the first nine months of any year since 2006.
There’s more on pedestrian safety at the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
SOURCE: Governors Highway Safety Association, news release, April 7, 2022