Car Crashes and Traffic Fatalities in 2010: Pedestrians, Part 2

This is the second post in a three-part series that is taking a closer look at the recent federal agency report that analyzes car accident data across the nation for 2010.

The reports show that pedestrians may have been hardest hit in 2010. Safety features may have reduced the number of passenger and driver deaths but those improvements did not help the pedestrians who have been injured and killed in motor vehicles accidents.

In 2010, there was a 4.2 percent increase in pedestrian deaths and a rise in pedestrian injuries by 11,000 incidents nationwide. Bicycling deaths did decrease in 2010 but the number of injuries for cyclists remained constant. These statistics demonstrate that safety improvements for motorists do not translate to safer roads for the pedestrians and cyclists that also use the public transportation venues.

Prior to 2010, pedestrian fatalities had fallen four years in a row, so an increase is not entirely explainable. While a more intensive look into the statistics is needed, experts have offered several preliminary explanations:

  • Fewer people are driving and more are bicycling or walking across the nation
  • Most roadways were designed for motorized traffic flow, not to accommodate pedestrians.
  • Distracted walking is becoming as large of an issue as distracted driving. Pedestrians and bicyclists are increasingly texting or listening to mobile devices, and paying less attention to what is going on around them.

For more on NHTSA’s recent report, check out our next post on distracted driving in 2010.

Source: US DOT, “U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Lowest Level Of Annual Traffic Fatalities In More Than Six Decades,” 12/8/11.