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New Study Shows Pedestrian Fatalities At Near 30-Year High Nationwide

Pedestrian deaths have reached a new high in 2018.
Pedestrian deaths have reached a new high in 2018. Photo Credit: CDC

A brand-new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association reports that 6,227 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads in 2018, the highest number in nearly three decades.

According to the study, the projection represents a 4 percent increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities during 2018.

The report looked at several factors that may be influencing the rise in pedestrian deaths, including increased exposure; unfriendly infrastructure; unsafe driving behaviors; and increased presence SUVs.

During the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 35 percent (from 4,414 deaths in 2008 to 5,977 deaths in 2017). The combined number of all other traffic deaths declined by 6 percent. Along with the increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of total motor vehicle crash deaths increased from 12 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2017.

Increases in pedestrian fatalities are occurring largely at night. From 2008 to 2017 the number of nighttime pedestrian fatalities increased by 45 percent, compared to a much smaller 11 percent increase in daytime pedestrian fatalities.

In New York, there was .60 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 people between January and June last year. In Connecticut, there was .82 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 people. New Mexico had the highest rate (2.26), while New Hampshire had the lowest (.07).

The report notes that the number of pedestrian fatalities in the 10 largest cities declined by 15 percent, specifically spotlighting New York City, which “provides evidence of local successes that may not be reflected in statewide data.” It was also noted that New York State DOT is conducting pedestrian safety site evaluations at approximately 2,000 unsignalized midblock crosswalks and 2,400 signalized crosswalks on state-maintained routes in urban areas.

In Connecticut, the “Watch for Me CT” campaign, which is a statewide educational community outreach campaign involving media components and community engagement in partnership with CT Children’s Medical Center, was highlighted.

"While we have made progress reducing fatalities among many other road users in the past decade, pedestrian deaths have risen 35 percent," GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins stated. "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."

The complete GHSA study can be found here.

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