A grim reality lurks on the streets of America, where each day 20 pedestrians lose their lives to moving vehicles. The nation faces an upward trend in pedestrian fatalities, with the highest number recorded in 2022 since 1981, according to estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The problem of pedestrian deaths has roots in unsafe infrastructure and a surge in SUV usage, which are more deadly for pedestrians than smaller vehicles. These sobering facts emphasize the urgent need for effective solutions to protect pedestrians and make roads safer.
The leading states in pedestrian fatalities
In 2022, New Mexico marked its seventh consecutive year as the state with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. The states of Arizona and Florida also held top spots in the GHSA’s list. Notably, all three states reside below the country’s Sun Belt. Though experts cannot pinpoint the exact reasons behind the high number of traffic deaths in these states, they speculate that factors like larger community spread and better weather could contribute, causing people to spend more time outdoors.
Immediate strategies for traffic safety
While enhancing traffic safety in the U.S. remains a challenging task, there are immediate strategies that local authorities can adopt to help reduce pedestrian fatalities. One such approach involves implementing “traffic calming” measures, which include installing sharp corners instead of rounded ones at road ends to force drivers to slow down. This strategy, combined with the addition of pedestrian islands and large sidewalk bulb-outs, can significantly improve road safety.
Additionally, using speeding and red light cameras can be effective in curbing reckless driving. The inclusion of bike lanes can also contribute to safety by keeping drivers more alert on the road. Though lowering speed limits can help, authorities must enforce them alongside other safety measures.
The increasing number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. is a grave concern that calls for immediate action. By being aware of these problems, people can take significant steps towards reducing this alarming trend and making the roads safer for everyone.