Charlie Riedel / AP
Attempting to walk to work, walk a dog, or enjoy a simple walk after dinner becomes an increasingly risky activity, according to new estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association, according to which the number of deaths pedestrians in the United States has reached record levels. 28 years old.
A new GHSA report revealed that about 6,227 pedestrians were killed in road crashes in 2018, an increase of 4% from 2017 and the highest death rate since 1990.
"While we have made progress in reducing the number of deaths among many other road users over the last decade, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased by 35% since 2008," said the Executive Director. Jonathan Adkins, in a statement.
"The bells continue to ring the alarm on this issue, it is clear that we must strengthen our collective efforts to protect pedestrians and reverse the trend," added Adkins.
The non-profit group, representing the country's highways and security offices, has identified a handful of factors contributing to change, including the popularity of SUVs and trucks, which are more likely to kill a human because of the difference in size and weight.
"[T]The number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) involved in the death of pedestrians has increased by 50% since 2013. In comparison, the involvement of passenger cars (non SUV) in pedestrian deaths has increased by 30% at during the same period. Although passenger cars still account for the majority of pedestrian fatalities, sport utility vehicles – which typically cause more serious injuries to pedestrians – are a growing percentage of registered vehicles. "
The bad behavior in and out of cars is also to blame. The ubiquity of smartphones over the last decade "can be a major distraction for all road users," the report says. Drivers also pay less attention than to other things, like falling asleep or speeding up. And, in about half of the traffic accidents that resulted in the death of pedestrians in 2017, the driver or pedestrian or both would have been weakened by alcohol.
There is also the simple fact that population growth naturally means that more people are on the street.
"[T]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 State – recorded an overall increase of 5% in number of pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. "
A survey cited in the analysis estimated that the number of Americans walking to work had risen by about 4% between 2007 and 2016.
According to the GHSA, most fatal accidents occur after dark and these night deaths increase much more rapidly than daytime fatalities. "From 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian deaths at night has increased by 45%, compared to a much smaller increase of 11% in the number of pedestrian deaths during the day."
According to the results, apparently, New Hampshire is the safest place to attempt to move from one end of the street to the other. The state reported only one death in the first six months of 2018, while New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths per resident population. (California reported 432 pedestrian deaths, more than any other state.)
Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas were responsible for almost half – 46% – of deaths.
"Crossing the street should not be a death sentence," said author of the report, Richard Retting, who suggested that improvements to road and vehicle design be implemented more widely despite their costs.