According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) latest report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2019 Preliminary Data, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States has grown sharply in recent years. However, some states have seen minor decreases in their numbers.
The following paragraphs are pulled from different parts of the full report, linked above.
During the 10-year period from 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 53% (from 4,109 deaths in 2009 to 6,283 deaths in 2018); by comparison, the combined number of all other traffic deaths increased by 2%. Along with the increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of total motor vehicle crash deaths increased from 12% in 2009 to 17% in 2018. The last time pedestrians accounted for 17% of total U.S. traffic deaths was over 35 years ago, in 1982.
Despite the overall national increase in pedestrian deaths, there is some good news in the 2019 preliminary data:
● Pedestrian fatalities during the first half of 2019 declined in 20 states and Washington, D.C., compared with the same period in 2018.
● Six states (Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Mississippi) reported double-digit declines in both the number and percent change in pedestrian fatalities from the same period in 2018.
● Seven states (Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) reported two consecutive years of declining numbers of pedestrian fatalities.
State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) in all 50 states and territories continue to actively engage with their partners to implement a wide range of educational, enforcement and engineering initiatives aimed at reducing the numbers of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. Along with critical funding support provided through federal partners, states will continue to focus their efforts on effective countermeasures to reverse the trend of increasing pedestrian fatalities. In addition, some communities have seen a localized rise in pedestrian activism and pedestrian-centered safety planning, such as Vision Zero initiatives and the preparation of Pedestrian Safety Action Plans, while other communities lack this type of coordinated advocacy or planning.
The national footprint of pedestrian safety is not uniform, and there are many reasons for differing pedestrian fatality rates among states, including land-use patterns, roadway designs, vehicle speeds, population density, and demographics. The physical environment in which pedestrians walk has a profound influence on safety outcomes, and roadway design practices have been evolving over time to increasingly accommodate pedestrians, including those with disabilities. There is a significant time lag, however, in achieving roadway design improvements through roadway construction and land development projects.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.