According to a newly released study, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased by 10 percent last year.
Data gathered by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States rose 19 percent from 2009 to 2014, a period in which total traffic deaths decreased by about 4 percent. Earlier studies based on preliminary data reported by State Highway Safety Offices are revealing that pedestrians now account for the largest proportion of traffic deaths recorded in the past 25 years. The latest study, based on preliminary numbers for the first six months of 2015, found an increase of 6 percent in the reported number of fatalities compared with a year earlier. After adjusting for anticipated underreporting in the preliminary state data, GHSA estimates there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in 2015 compared with 2014. In addition, pedestrian deaths have steadily gone up from 11 percent in 2005-2007 to 15 percent in 2014, as a percentage from the total of traffic crash deaths, a figure that was last reported in 1990.
According to GHSA, among the contributive factors are the demographic changes, weather conditions, fuel prices, the increase of the average vehicle travel distance and the increasingly number of people that found in walking to be a healthy way of moving around. Travel monitoring data published by the Federal Highway Administration indicates that motor vehicle travel on all roads and streets increased by 3.5 percent for the first half of 2015. A more recent contributing factor may be the growing use of cell phones while walking, which can be a significant source of distraction for pedestrians.
States with large urban centers have the highest numbers, with California, Florida, Texas and New York accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths in the first half of last year, while New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, Nevada, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona had the highest fatality rate per 100,000 people.