Road safety offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia reported pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2018, which researchers combined with historical data to estimate the total number of pedestrian deaths for the year.
L & # 39; Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in 2018, continuing the upward trend observed since 2009 and the highest number since 1990. This increase also comes at a time when all other deaths by car are down, according to the report.
"Although 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%," said the Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, Jonathan Adkins, in a statement.
The number of pedestrian deaths has varied considerably from one state to another. New Hampshire reported one during the first six months of 2018 and California, 432.
Researchers attribute this increase to more people who walk and are therefore more exposed; night passes on local roads off intersections; unsafe driving behaviors such as speed or distracted or sleepy driving; the consumption of alcohol and the use of smartphones by drivers and pedestrians; and an increase in the number of sport utility vehicles, which generally result in more serious injuries to pedestrians.
Over the past 10 years, night-time collisions accounted for more than 90% of the total increase in pedestrian fatalities. Driver / pedestrian alcohol problems were reported in half of the incidents that led to the death of pedestrians in 2017.
The authors point out that reducing, if not eliminating, the number of pedestrian deaths requires a comprehensive approach including law enforcement, engineering, education and effective emergency medical intervention. The approach should also be adapted to the needs of States and local communities.
"Crossing the street should not be a death sentence," said Richard Retting, director of security and research at Sam Schwartz Consulting, author of the report. "We have a range of proven infrastructure, engineering and behavioral strategies that we know can reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities."
The authors acknowledge that many factors beyond the control of road safety officials contribute to changes in the number of pedestrian deaths, including weather conditions, gas prices, travel costs and the total number of fatalities. people who choose to walk in each state.
"The bells continue to ring the alarm on this issue, it is clear that we need to strengthen our collective efforts to protect pedestrians and reverse the trend," Adkins said.