CINCINNATI -- Preliminary data show a concerning trend that pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for a second year in a row, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The data show nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2017, marking the second year in a row at numbers not seen in 25 years. In 2016, 5,987 people on foot lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes. Based on 2016 data collected by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ohio ranked 39th in pedestrian deaths with 139 people losing their lives when struck by motor vehicles.
The governors association's annual Spotlight on Highway Safety provides the first glimpse at state and national trends in pedestrian traffic fatalities for 2017, using preliminary data provided by the highway safety offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"Two consecutive years of 6,000 pedestrian deaths is a red flag for all of us in the traffic safety community. These high levels are no longer a blip but unfortunately a sustained trend," said Executive Director Jonathan Adkins in a news release. "We can't afford to let this be the new normal."
According to the association, pedestrians now account for approximately 16 percent of all motor vehicle deaths, compared with 11 percent just a few years ago.
“There can be many factors why the number of pedestrian strikes are going up,” said Jenifer Moore, Cincinnati's AAA spokeswoman. “But both the pedestrian and motorist share the responsibility of creating safe roadways.”
For pedestrians, AAA recommends the following:
- Be visible – wear light-colored or reflective clothing and walk in well-lit areas
- Stay alert – avoid distractions and put down your smartphone and do not wear headphones in both ears
- Follow the rules – know your city’s traffic rules, signs, and signals
- Walk in safe places – use crosswalks and walk on sidewalks whenever possible
- Avoid drug or alcohol impairment.
For motorists, AAA recommends the following:
- Be alert. Look out for pedestrians at all times and follow posted speed limits.
- Drive with caution near crosswalks. Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and when approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and prepare to stop.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes and decision-making skills.