Pedestrian deaths in the U.S. are predicted to have risen 20 percent in the first six months of 2020 as speeding, distracted and impaired driving, and other dangerous driving behaviors increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA) annual Spotlight on Highway Safety offers the first comprehensive look at state and national trends in 2020 pedestrian traffic deaths, based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The analysis found that from January through June 2020, 2,957 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes – six more than the same period in 2019.
However, with a 16.5 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) nationwide, the rate of drivers striking and killing pedestrians jumped to 2.2 deaths per billion VMT, an increase from 1.8 deaths the year before.
“Walking should not be a life and death undertaking, yet many factors have combined to put pedestrians at historical levels of risk,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
“The traffic safety community should focus on a comprehensive approach that uses every tool available to save lives, including engineering, community outreach, emergency response and equitable enforcement that prioritizes the prevention of driving behaviors – like speeding, distraction and impairment – that pose the greatest threats to non-motorized road users.”
The full report is available on the GHSA website.