With the onset of spring often comes an increase in the number of people wanting to be outdoors to enjoy the change of season and warming temperatures. From taking the dog for a daily stroll to walking from a parked car to a desired location and more, many situations find people on foot amidst a sea of cars, trucks and other vehicles. The need to share roadways with vehicles can be dangerous for pedestrians and, unfortunately, it seems the risks have been growing in recent years.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities accounted for just over 10% of all accident deaths in Pennsylvania in 2009. That year, a total of 139 pedestrians were killed across the state. Fast forward to 2018 and the state recorded 197 total pedestrian fatalities. Not only is the number of pedestrian deaths higher than a decade ago, but these deaths represent a significantly higher percent of all accident fatalities. In 2016, foot traffic accounted for 16.5% of all people killed in motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania.
As overall traffic deaths decline in Pennsylvania, pedestrian deaths increased. This trend is tragically seen across the United States as a whole as well. A report by The Verge indicates that between 2017 and 2018 alone, overall vehicular fatalities in the country dropped by 3.4%. At the same time, pedestrian fatalities rose by 2.4%.
Many factors may be contributing to the rise in pedestrian deaths. One issue facing people on foot today is the preference of many American consumers for SUVs and other large vehicles. When hit by larger vehicles, pedestrians are more likely to experience injury to their heads or vital organs.