The second annual National Pedestrian Safety Month is taking place this October, against a backdrop of increasing pedestrian fatalities in the United States.
During the pandemic, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by drivers has continued a decade-long trend in the wrong direction. Now, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and its State Highway Safety Office (SHSO) members are taking steps to address the behavioral safety issues that put people on foot at increased risk of injury and death.
“The spike in pedestrian fatalities in recent years is unacceptable,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Nobody should have to worry about dying while walking. Vehicles are safer than ever for occupants thanks to design changes and new safety features, but the same can’t be said for people on foot. We must do more to address the safety of our most vulnerable road users by stopping the preventable causes of crashes – speeding, impairment and distraction – that needlessly put lives at risk.”
Earlier this year, GHSA projected that 6,721 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads in 2020 – a 4.8 percent increase from 2019 despite a drastic drop in miles driven. That’s an average of 18 people struck and killed while walking every day. And this trend of unsafe driving has continued into 2021. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that a total of 8,730 people were killed on U.S. roadways in the first quarter of 2021, a 10.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
SHSOs and their partners work to address the behavioral causes of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, including speeding, drunk and drug-impaired driving, distraction, and not buckling up. SHSOs also collaborate with other state agencies to promote infrastructure improvements and road design changes that can better protect all road users. GHSA’s annual pedestrian safety report highlights numerous proven strategies to reduce crashes and injuries involving pedestrians.