Pedestrians currently account for 15% of all traffic fatalities, which has been on the slow rise from 11% a decade ago. Of course, geographically speaking, some areas are higher than others. Sunshine states where walking is the norm like Florida and Arizona have the highest rates, which has been a continual figure – but states where it’s less popular, like Oregon, Montana, Ohio, and Minnesota all had pedestrian deaths double, while rates also increased in 27 other states.
A National Safety Council study released in February claimed that overall traffic deaths had jumped 8.1% last year. A portion of that increase is the increase in car miles traveled – the Federal Highway Administration estimating that Americans traveled over 3.1 trillion miles last year (WHOA), which is more than 3.5% from 2014.
Still – the increase of the pedestrian death rate was about 3x that traffic increase. As the sole strongest factor in these deaths, drinking and driving remains the highest. 49% of pedestrian deaths involve alcohol impairment, which is even higher than the 31% of overall traffic fatalities involving alcohol. Safety advocates are weighing in multiple factors, due to higher temperatures that led to more walking, speed-limit increases, reduction in automated traffic enforcement, and two of the big ones: cell phone usage and multimedia messaging. Ahem, quit texting and driving, people. And for that matter, texting and walking! Cell phones are a big distraction for drivers and pedestrians.
In other words, don’t drive like a psycho or like an idiot. For those of you who prefer to walk, keep your eyes ahead – watch for oncoming traffic, be respectful of the law – no jaywalking, and keep in mind: you’re not entitled just because you’re on two legs – the law still applies to you!