It’s estimated that 6,227 pedestrians were killed on United States roadways in 2018, the highest number since 1990. The statistics come from the Governors Highway Safety Association, and the information is gathered by state highway safety offices.
“The alarm bells continue to sound on this issue. It’s clear we need to fortify our collective efforts to protect pedestrians and reverse the trend,” says Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
The increase in deaths can be attributed to several aspects. One is that there are more heavier vehicles on the road, like trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles. The association says the chance of a pedestrian suffering life-threatening injuries or dying from being hit by the more powerful vehicles are substantially higher. Pedestrian fatalities from being struck by SUVs increased by 50 percent between the years 2013 and 2017.
A skyrocketing population and cheaper gas prices can also be to blame: more people in an area with access to cheaper gas means a greater number people on the road. Distracted drivers, specifically those distracted by cell phones, contributed to a large portion of deaths.
According to the association, deaths in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas made up almost half of the deaths in early 2018. The state with the highest number of fatalities per 100,000 people was New Mexico, and New Hampshire had the least number of deaths.