Cars are getting safer but Walking is not

It’s the opposite, in fact. It’s getting more dangerous to walk in the United States, according to the latest Spotlight on Highway Safe...


It’s the opposite, in fact. It’s getting more dangerous to walk in the United States, according to the latest Spotlight on Highway Safety Report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association. In it, the non-profit projects that there will be a 10% increase in pedestrian deaths in 2015, compared to year prior, which will make it the largest spike in history.

“…we are quite alarmed," said one of the report’s authors, Richard Retting, from Sam Schwartz Consulting. 

The projection was made by comparing preliminary data during the first six months of 2014 and 2015, which were 2,232 and 2,368 pedestrian deaths respectively. The report attributes the rise to several possible causes, including: increased traffic on the roads; distraction caused by the use of mobile phones by both drivers and pedestrians, and more and more people walking for health and environmental reasons, as well as it being a free mode of transportation. Almost a million more people walk or bike to work in 2013 than in 2005.

Advancing technology has seen a host of new safety features being incorporated into new vehicle models, which is good news for drivers and passengers whose chances of surviving a crash keep getting better; however, pedestrians remain just as vulnerable as ever, and prone to the same severity of injury when hit by a motor vehicle.

A decade ago, death of walkers only made up 11% of all vehicle crash-related deaths – now it accounts for 15%. There were recorded increase in such deaths in 26 states and Washington D.C, with more occurring in large cities - just New York, California, Florida and Texas contributed to 42% of pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2015.

It’s perhaps stating the obvious, but nighttime is particular dangerous for walking; in 2014, half of the pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6pm and midnight – 72% happened after dark.

Retting said, “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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