The variety of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads final yr was the very best in 28 years, a rise due partly to driver and walker distraction, alcohol and drug impairment and extra SUVs on the highway, a security group report says.
Utilizing knowledge reported by states for the primary half of 2018, the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation estimates that 6,227 pedestrians have been killed final yr. That is up four % from 2017 and 35 % — or greater than 1,500 extra deaths — from 2008.
The affiliation says extra persons are strolling to work and so they’re extra distracted by smartphones. America’s large change from vehicles to SUVs and light-weight vehicles brought on extra deaths as a result of the taller SUVs are inclined to hit pedestrians within the head and higher torso, inflicting extra extreme accidents, the report stated.
“On the identical impression pace, a pedestrian is more likely to die in an SUV crash than in a automotive crash,” stated Richard Retting, a advisor and former prime visitors security official with the town of New York who authored the report. “Even at 20 or 25 miles per hour, being hit by an SUV, the possibility of deadly accidents will increase considerably.”
The variety of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs rose 50 % from 2013 to 2017, whereas passenger-car-related deaths elevated by 30 %, the research discovered. The variety of walkers killed by passenger vehicles was nonetheless greater in 2017 at 2,279, however SUVs accounted for 1,097 deaths.
Pedestrian deaths had been declining for many years till 2009, when smartphone gross sales and knowledge use started to spike, Retting stated. Whereas Retting stated the correlation between the 2 must be studied extra, telephone use is likely one of the solely variables that would trigger the rise in deaths. “Cellphone use is likely one of the few metrics I can discover that exhibits a constant change, a big scale change, yr after yr,” Retting stated.
In about half the deadly crashes, both the motive force or the pedestrian was impaired by alcohol, with blood alcohol ranges of 0.08 grams per deciliter, the research discovered.
The report additionally says most deaths occur on native roads at night time and away from intersections, and it referred to as for safer highway crossings. Night time pedestrian fatalities elevated by 45 % from 2008 to 2017, whereas daytime deaths rose a a lot smaller 11 %.
Retting stated municipal governments ought to consider pedestrian crossing patterns and take into account putting in crosswalks and lights even when there isn’t any intersection.
The rise in pedestrian deaths from 2008 to 2017 got here as total visitors deaths fell 6 %, the report stated.
It additionally referred to as for legislation enforcement and security schooling campaigns to ensure drivers and walkers can safely coexist, in addition to for highway security audits.
It stated that 23 states noticed declines in pedestrian deaths in the course of the first half of final yr, with six states reporting double-digit drops.
Retting stated he expects pedestrian deaths to fall as extra SUVs and vehicles are outfitted with automated emergency braking and pedestrian detection techniques. Most automakers within the U.S. have pledged to make automated braking commonplace throughout their lineups by September of 2022.