September is Pedestrian Safety Month
More than 6,200 pedestrians were killed in the United States in 2018, up 4 percent over the previous years and higher than any other year in the past 29 years, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Police say that while the number of pedestrian deaths has risen, other types of traffic accident fatalities have declined over the years.
In fact, the GHSA study projects pedestrian deaths rose 51.5% since a low of 4,109 in 2009 to 6,227 deaths in 2018. These types of fatal crashes now account for 16 percent of all road fatalities compared to 12 percent in 2009.
“While we have made progress reducing fatalities among many other road users in the past decade, pedestrian deaths have risen 35 percent,” noted GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “
So what is to blame for the increased number of fatal pedestrian accidents in the United States? Rising use of SUVs and smartphones could be partially to blame for this trend. Indeed, there was a 50 percent increase in fatal pedestrian crashes involving SUV compared to a 30-percent increase in these types of fatalities for cars. Smartphone use by both drivers and pedestrians is the biggest distraction on our roadways.
The majority of pedestrians are killed, however, at nighttime on local roads. Roughly 90 percent of the increased deaths over the past decade took place after dark.
Additionally, unsafe driving behaviors including speeding, distracted and drowsy driving, alcohol impairment by either the driver and/or the pedestrian, accounted for roughly half of traffic crashes involved a pedestrian fatality 2017.
So what can be done to make roads safer? Plenty. Here are some safety tips to live by when you are either walking or behind the wheel.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Drivers
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Use only marked crosswalks, preferably at stop signs or signals.
- Avoid distractions.
- Don’t talk on phone while walking.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Make sure they can see you.
- Wear light clothing during the day.
- Use a flashlight at night.
- Avoid roads if you are impaired
- Obey all speed limits.
- Never drive distracted
- Don’t drive drunk.
- Always stop for a pedestrian as they enter a crosswalk.
- Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks even outside a marked crosswalk or intersection.
- Try not to block the crosswalk when turning right.
- Be cautious and slow when backing up and exiting parking spaces.