Posted by Barry Eitel, San Francisco | 9 May 2018 | 1,456 times
Pedestrian deaths in the United States have reached their highest numbers in nearly three decades, according to a report released Tuesday by an insurance group.
Almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed by vehicles in 2016, a 46 percent increase compared to 2009. The number of fatalities is at its highest point since 1990, according to a report authored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The skyrocketing number of deaths rose much higher than the overall number of traffic fatalities, which have risen 11 percent since 2009.
In the report, the IIHS placed blame on poorly designed crosswalks, the popularity of Sports Utility Vehicles and the rise of high speed limit roads in suburban areas that connect neighborhoods to freeways. Additionally, many of the deaths occurred at night.
“Understanding where, when and how these additional pedestrian crashes are happening can point the way to solutions,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement.
“This analysis tells us that improvements in road design, vehicle design and lighting and speed limit enforcement all have a role to play in addressing the issue.”
The IIHS said that many roads have not been designed with pedestrians in mind. Many busy streets in urban and suburban areas around the U.S. do not even have sidewalks, Harkey explained.
“Good design should prioritise the safety of all road users,” he continued. “It’s possible to improve streets for pedestrians while still allowing vehicle traffic to get where it needs to go.”
The report looked at federal data regarding vehicle crashes for 2009 through 2016 and found that 5,987 pedestrians died in crashes in 2016, representing about 16 percent of overall deaths in traffic.
A large proportion of these deaths occurred on so-called “arterial” roads that are aimed at funneling traffic onto freeways and often have high speed limits. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of pedestrians killed on these types of roads increased 67 percent.
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