Data on pedestrian deaths shows largest-ever increase in 2015


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Washington – Pedestrian deaths in 2015 increased an estimated 10 percent from the previous year – the largest annual increase since reporting began, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

After adjusting the preliminary data for underreporting, researchers found that 2,368 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2015, compared with 2,232 in the first six months of 2014. From year to year, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased by as much as 8.1 percent and decreased by as much as 10.5 percent since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began in 1975.

From 2009 to 2014, traffic deaths declined by about 4 percent, but pedestrian deaths rose 19 percent, according to the report. Pedestrians make up about 15 percent of motor vehicle crash-related fatalities, an increase from 11 percent 10 years ago.

GHSA points to a number of factors that could have led to the increase:

  • Motor vehicle travel and cell phone use among both drivers and pedestrians has grown.
  • The chance of drivers and passengers not dying in a crash is improving.
  • More people are walking when commuting to work.

“We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed,” report co-author Richard Retting, of Sam Schwartz Consulting, said in a press release. “Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country. It is important to understand the data underlying these crashes so states and localities can apply the right mix of engineering, education and enforcement to counteract this troubling trend.”

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