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Pedestrian deaths at highest level in over 40 years: GHSA


Photo: helen89/iStockphoto

An estimated 7,508 pedestrians were killed in the United States last year – a 1% increase from 2021 and the most since 1981, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

In a new report, GHSA says pedestrian deaths have increased 77% since 2010.

“Every day, 20 people go for a walk and do not return home,” said association CEO Jonathan Adkins. “These are people living their daily lives – commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise – who died suddenly and violently.

“The saddest part is that these crashes are preventable. We know what works – better-designed infrastructure, lower speeds, addressing risky driving behaviors that pose a danger to people walking. We must do these things and more to reverse this awful trend and protect people on foot. Enough is enough.”

The report is based on an analysis of preliminary data from 49 states (Oklahoma experienced a “technical issue”) and the District of Columbia.

It includes federal data from 2021 showing that:

  • Most of the pedestrian deaths that year – 77% – occurred at night.
  • Pedestrian deaths involving SUVs have increased 120% over the past decade.
  • Around 8% of the pedestrian deaths involved a speeding vehicle.

The report also promotes the Department of Transportation’s Safe System approach for improving pedestrian safety.

“Some of the proven and promising approaches include designing and building safer roadways, engaging with people experiencing homelessness, focusing traffic enforcement on dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding and driving impaired or distracted, and educating novice drivers about their responsibility to look out for and yield to pedestrians and other road users,” GHSA says.

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