America’s roadways can be dangerous — both for people behind the wheel and pedestrians. New research reveals that the U.S. is experiencing a record rise in the rate of pedestrian fatalities. Depending on where you live, the statistics are pretty frightening.
A new study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association and based on an analysis of preliminary data for the first half of last year reveals that the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 — an estimated 6,000 — surged by 11 percent compared with the same period in 2015.
That’s the largest annual increase in both the number and percentage in the 40 years that records on these deaths have been kept.
Richard Retting, the director of safety and research at Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants who authored the report, tells CNN Tech:
“This is unprecedented and, quite honestly, shocking. I’ve been in the highway safety field 35 years; we just don’t see record increases, let alone consecutive years of record increases.”
Experts say myriad factors contributed to the fatality increase, including economic conditions, fuel prices, demographics and the amount of time people spend walking.
A separate recently released study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration focusing on traffic safety figures from 2015 found that Delaware (3.7) and Florida (3.1) have the highest pedestrian fatality rates per 100,000 people.
Transportation experts tell CNN Tech that many older roadways in those states were not designed to accommodate foot and bicycle traffic, contributing to hazardous attempts at crossing and sharing roads. Newer road designs are typically both cyclist and pedestrian-friendly.
“Florida and Delaware don’t have a monopoly on drunk or distracted pedestrians who happen to be jaywalking in dark clothing. What they do share is dated road design.”
If you want to stay safe on America’s roadways, check out “Motorists, Beware: These States Have the Worst Drivers” to see where America’s most careless and reckless drivers are hitting the road.
Are you surprised to see how pedestrian fatalities have surged? Sound off below or on Facebook.