Governors Report Pedestrian Fatalities Continue to Increase

March 31, 2017

The number of persons on foot killed on U.S. roadways last year increased an estimated 11 percent compared to 2015, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). This represents the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in terms of number of deaths and percent increase.

From 2014 to 2015, the number of pedestrian deaths spiked more than 9 percent.

Highway safety offices from all 50 states and the District of Columbia reported 2,660 pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2016, compared to 2,486 deaths during the same time period in the previous year. Adjusting for underreporting and past full-year data trends, GHSA estimates an 11 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities from 2015 to 2016.

Compared to 2014, the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 increased by 22 percent. Pedestrians account for approximately 15 percent of all motor vehicle deaths.

More than twice as many states reported an uptick in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2016 than had decreasing numbers. Thirty-four states saw an increase, while 15 states and the District of Columbia reported decreases, and one state had no change.

GHSA’s annual Spotlight on Highway Safety was authored by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

“This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming,” said Retting. “It is critical that the highway safety community understand these disturbing statistics and work to aggressively implement effective countermeasures.”

There are various factors contributing to this spike, according to this and other reports. They include more miles being driven, more people walking and more drivers and pedestrians being distracted while using their smartphones.


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