US pedestrian deaths surged to record levels in 2016

March 30, 2017

(HealthDay)—For the second straight year, U.S. pedestrian deaths are setting alarming new records.

The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads rose a projected 11 percent between 2015 and 2016, the largest year-to-year increase on record, according to a new Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) .

During the first six months of 2016, preliminary data show 2,660 pedestrian deaths nationwide, compared to 2,486 for the same period during 2015. The year-long projection is based on those numbers. The report also projects a 22 percent rise in pedestrian deaths from 2014.

Both estimates are sharply higher than the 9 percent increase in pedestrian deaths between 2014 and 2015.

"This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming," said report author Richard Retting, who's with Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

"It is critical that the community understand these disturbing statistics and work to aggressively implement effective countermeasures," he added in a GHSA news release.

Pedestrians account for about 15 percent of U.S. road deaths.

In the first six months of 2016, the number of pedestrian deaths rose in 34 states, fell in 15 states and in the District of Columbia, and remained the same in one state.

The report cited several possible reasons for the spike. They include Americans driving more due to lower gas prices; more people choosing to walk for health, transportation, economic or environmental reasons; and widespread use of smartphones, a distraction for walkers and drivers alike.

"Everyone walks, and we want to encourage that, but at the same time we want to make sure that we all get to our destinations safely," GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said.

"Unfortunately, this latest data shows that the U.S. is not meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways. Every one of these lives represents a loved one not coming home tonight, which is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

One doctors' group added that prevention— keeping your eyes and ears on your surroundings— is key.

"Today's projected fatalities—the highest ever recorded—are an urgent wake-up call that we need to work harder at consistently focusing on where and how we are walking," said Dr. Alan Hilibrand. He's a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"Pedestrians need to be mindful of their surroundings," while walking, Hilibrand said. "Walking while looking at your phone or an electronic device can result in sprains, broken bones, and other serious, even fatal, injuries."

Explore further: U.S. pedestrian death rate leveling off, but still too high

More information: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers pedestrian safety advice.

Related Stories

U.S. pedestrian death rate leveling off, but still too high

February 26, 2015
(HealthDay)—The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads is expected to remain unchanged from 2013 to 2014, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Minnesota pedestrian death spike illustrates grim US trend

January 5, 2017
Pedestrian deaths spiked to a 25-year high in Minnesota in 2016, illustrating what's been a grim upward trend across the country in recent years. Experts tie it to more people driving and to more distractions such as smartphones ...

Pedestrian deaths surged in 2015, early data suggests

March 8, 2016
Pedestrian deaths surged by an estimated 10 percent last year as the economy improved, the price of gas plunged and motorists put more miles behind the wheel than ever before, according to an analysis of preliminary state ...

2016 traffic deaths jump to highest level in nearly a decade

February 15, 2017
A jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade, erasing improvements made during the Great Recession and economic recovery, a leading safety organization said ...

As pedestrian's age rises, so does odds of dying in traffic accident

April 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—Elderly pedestrians face a much higher risk of being killed in a traffic accident than the young do, a new government report finds.

U.S. motorcycle deaths up 10 percent in last year

May 19, 2016
(HealthDay)—Motorcyclist deaths in the United States topped 5,000 last year—a 10 percent increase from 2014, according to a new report.

Recommended for you

Just a few minutes of light intensity exercise linked to lower death risk in older men

February 19, 2018
Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

February 16, 2018
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research published ...

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

Keeping an eye on the entire ageing process

February 15, 2018
Medical researchers often only focus on a single disease. As older people often suffer from multiple diseases at the same time, however, we need to rethink this approach, writes Ralph Müller.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.