Pedestrian Deaths Surging in the United States
Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 last year. This is about an 11% increase and the largest ever recorded. Increased driving due to an improved economy, lower gas prices, and more walking for exercise and environmental factors are some of the likely reasons behind the estimated 11% spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016. These findings are listed in the annual Spotlight on Highway Safety by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) which represents state highway safety offices.
In addition to the increase in pedestrian deaths, the National Safety Council recently reported traffic fatalities overall jumped 6% last year, pushing deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade. It was estimated that there were more than 40,200 traffic deaths in 2016. The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007 with 41,000 deaths, just before the economy tanked.
The GHSA sees the problem greatest in large population states that have urban areas where people do a lot of walking. Delaware, Florida, and Arizona had the highest rates of pedestrian deaths relative to their populations, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming had the lowest.
The United States is living in an era where we are constantly distracted while driving or walking, and according to the GHSA report cell phones have been eyed as one of the leading causes of these incidents.
Dash cameras, vehicle telematics, truck sideguards and collision avoidance systems are all mechanisms to create more ownership on drivers and ultimately reduce accidents. For example, truck side guards can prevent accidents in major metropolitan cities when pedestrians have the right away and commercial vehicles have a green light to make a right turn. These risk management technologies are key to combat the problems on our roads.