Walking can be a great way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors and support the environment. While it may not be practical to walk everywhere, getting outside to make a quick local trip can accomplish several goals.
However, being a pedestrian has become increasingly dangerous in recent years, and motorists are often to blame.
Here’s what you should know about the recent spike in pedestrian deaths and what is causing them.
A few years ago, pedestrian deaths stayed fairly consistent. From 2016 to 2019, the national fatality rate was under two per one billion. While there was some fluctuation between 1.89 per one billion and 1.98 per one billion, there was not the dramatic spike that came in 2020.
In 2020, the national fatality rate jumped to 2.30 deaths per one billion, and the number continues to climb.
Understanding the causes
There is no singular cause for the increase in pedestrian fatalities, but one of the most significant is speeding. Since there were fewer drivers on the road during the pandemic, there was a dramatic increase in motorists driving faster and doing so more often.
The increase in speed has proven deadly for pedestrians. When vehicles move faster, there is less time for a driver to react to a pedestrian, making it nearly impossible to stop or swerve in time to avoid an accident.
Speed is not the only factor in these fatalities. Studies show that distracted, impaired or inexperienced motorists are also involved in fatal pedestrian accidents.
Drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of each other and the traffic laws designed to keep everyone safe. Whether you are walking or driving, it is essential to be mindful of everyone sharing the roadway.