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Estimates show pedestrian deaths rose in 2015

The Governor's Highway Safety Association issued a report earlier this month estimating that the number of pedestrian accident fatalities in the United States grew by 10 percent from the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. This is the largest one-year increase in fatal pedestrian accidents since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was established in 1975. Reports for earlier years varied from a 10.5 percent annual drop to an 8.1 percent increase for the country.

Connecticut, however, suffered a slight drop in fatalities for this period. The state reported 15 deaths for 2015 compared to 16 for the same six months one year earlier, which constituted a 6 percent drop. The rate in Connecticut was 0.42 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Connecticut has instituted several measures to attack the fatal pedestrian accident risk. Roundabouts are being installed and roadway designs are being constructed in high risk areas to reduce vehicle speed and the likelihood of serious injuries to pedestrians. Authorities also began educational outreach campaigns on how these systems work.

Large states with big urban areas were responsible for 42 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. These were California, Florida, Texas and New York. Applying death rates to a measure of 100,000 residents, seven states had the highest number of fatalities under this measure. These were New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, Nevada, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona.

The GHSA attributes the national increase to increased travel because of better economic conditions and lower fuel prices. Use of cell phones by motorists and pedestrians is another major cause. More Americans are also walking for their health and because of economic and environmental reasons. GHSA has called for more and safer pedestrian walkways.

While vehicles are more crashworthy and provide better protection to their occupants, pedestrians still have almost no protection against an oncoming car. Victims of these accidents can face serious injury and death.

Source: Governor's Highway Safety Association, "Pedestrian fatalities projected to spike 10% in 2015" and "Spotlight on highway safety," Accessed March 13, 2016

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