A report issued by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association states that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic rose 11 percent last year, to almost 6,000. That’s the biggest one year increase in pedestrian fatalities. It is also the highest number in two years.
The National Safety Council has also reported that traffic deaths overall rose 6 percent nationwide in 2016.
There are multiple explanations for the rise in pedestrian fatalities. Lower gas prices, and a stronger economy have resulted in more cars on the road, and more miles driven.
In addition to speeding and failure to yield, distractions are the number three cause of pedestrian deaths. Drivers may distracted, so can a growing number of pedestrians, who may be inattentive to nearby traffic, distracted by their cell phones.
Speed also kills. A pedestrian at 10 miles an hour hit has a 10 percent chance of dying. A pedestrian struck at 40 miles an hour has an 80 percent chance of dying. Lowering speed limits may help to reduce deaths. Additional safety measures include better road design and more sidewalks.
Approximately 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night, and approximately 75 percent of those persons were not crossing at intersections.
Alcohol may also be a significant factor. 15 percent of pedestrians killed each year are hit by a drunk driver. Further, 34 percent of pedestrians had BAC (Blood Alcohol Levels) above the .08 presumption for drunk driving.