When thinking of traffic accidents, it would be an understandable reaction to imagine a car crash: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 43,000 people died in 2021 on US roads. That’s a 10.5 percent jump from 2020 and the most fatalities since 2005. But pedestrian deaths are another form of traffic accident—and those rates are rising, fast.
A new study from Smart Growth America, an urban development-focused nonprofit, found that the number of pedestrian fatalities spiked more than 60 percent in the last decade. In 2020 alone, more than 6,500 people were struck and killed by vehicles—a record high that equates to nearly 18 people dying every day. And despite fewer cars on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of pedestrian deaths might have been even higher in 2021, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Preliminary data from GHSA suggests that roughly 7,500 people were killed last year. If confirmed, this would be the highest number in 40 years.
The study also presents new data identifying the deadliest metro areas and states for pedestrians. That the US experiences more pedestrian deaths than any other high-income nation isn’t random, researchers from Smart Growth America say. It’s by design.
Author(s): MARIA PARAZO ROSE
Publication Date: 16 Jul 2022
Publication Site: Popular Science