A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) paints a troubling picture. In the first half of 2022 alone, a shocking 3,434 pedestrians lost their lives on U.S. roads. Even worse, the trend is persisting with 2.37 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) throughout 2022, continuing a troubling pattern from 2020.
Beyond the numbers, an analysis by Elizabeth Petraglia, Ph.D., of research firm Westat, uncovered an even more alarming fact: between 2010 and 2021, pedestrian deaths soared by a staggering 77%. In contrast, all other traffic fatalities rose by 25%, highlighting a deeply concerning safety disparity.
We can’t stand idle in the face of this crisis, and GHSA proposes a comprehensive solution based on the Safe System approach outlined in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS). This approach consists of five key elements, each contributing to a multi-layered safety net that can protect pedestrians and other road users.
1. Safe Road Users: Raising awareness through education campaigns to promote responsible and attentive road behavior, both for drivers and pedestrians alike.
2. Safe Vehicles: Encouraging the adoption of advanced technology like pedestrian detection and collision avoidance systems in all new vehicles to prioritize safety.
3. Safe Speeds: Implementing speed limits and enforcement strategies designed to protect all road users, especially in high-pedestrian-traffic areas.
4. Safe Roads: Improving infrastructure with pedestrian-friendly features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and well-designed intersections.
5. Post-Crash Care: Ensuring efficient emergency response and medical care to save lives and minimize the impact of accidents.
GHSA’s report also highlights how some states are already putting Safe System principles into action to enhance pedestrian safety. By adopting and tailoring these practices to local needs, we can create safer environments for everyone.
Now is the time for united action. As individuals, communities, and a nation, we must prioritize pedestrian safety. Here’s how we can all contribute:
- Raise Awareness: Share this information with family, friends, and colleagues. Educate others about pedestrian safety and the potential impact of the Safe System approach.
- Advocate for Change: Reach out to local representatives and support initiatives for safer infrastructure, better public transportation, and measures to reduce speeding and distracted driving.
- Set an Example: Lead by example as both pedestrians and drivers. Stay attentive, follow traffic laws, and prioritize safety at all times.
- Support Organizations: Contribute to initiatives focused on promoting pedestrian safety and reducing road fatalities. Every bit of support counts.
- Get Involved Locally: Join community programs that emphasize road safety and pedestrian awareness. Together, we can make a real difference.
As OnderLaw, we firmly believe that pedestrian safety should be a top priority in our policies and minds. The rising number of pedestrian deaths is more than just a statistic – it represents real lives lost, affecting mothers, fathers, children, friends, and neighbors. Let’s work tirelessly to reverse this troubling trend and create safer roads for everyone.
Change begins with each of us. Together, let’s bring attention to this crisis, demand action, and ensure that our roadways are no longer marked by the tragic toll of pedestrian fatalities. We stand united, and together, we can make a difference today!