TUCSON, Ariz. — Our cars may be getting bigger and safer, but that is coming at a cost for those who choose to walk. According to a new report by the Governor's Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths have increased 35 percent in the last decade, while traffic deaths went down 6 percent.
The report estimates that over 6,000 pedestrians died in 2018.
According to the report, Arizona is the second deadliest state for pedestrians per capita.
The report also says that distracted drivers and the popularity of SUVs are partly to blame for the jump. Pedestrians are projected to account for 16 percent of all traffic deaths in 2018, compared to 12 percent in 2008. While advancements in motor vehicle safety and technology have increased survivability for vehicle occupants involved in crashes, pedestrians remain just as susceptible to sustaining serious or fatal injuries when struck by a motor vehicle.
The report offers a first look at state and national trends in 2018 pedestrian traffic deaths, based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“Crossing the street should not be a death sentence,” said report author Richard Retting. “We have a range of proven infrastructure, engineering, and behavioral strategies that we know can reduce pedestrian deaths. Critical improvements to road and vehicle design are being made, but take significant time and resources to implement. It is also important to conduct law enforcement and safety education campaigns now to ensure drivers and pedestrians can safely coexist. It’s crucial to do everything we can to protect pedestrians utilizing a broad approach.”
In addition to examining pedestrian fatality crash characteristics, the report also discusses comprehensive strategies to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle crashes, addressing promising infrastructural, educational and enforcement approaches. It also outlines specific examples from a majority of states, such as: targeted law enforcement efforts; outreach in high-risk areas; pedestrian safety assessments and road safety audits; support for engineering efforts; and adoption of Complete Streets policies.
The full report, including state-by-state data is available at ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians19.
KGUN 9 is committed to making our roads a safer place to travel on foot, on bikes, and in our vehicles. We welcome your input. Send your issues and concerns about the safety of our roadways to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 520-290-7690.