Tuesday, April 1, 2014

U.S. Pedestrian Fatalities Saw Significant Decrease, A First Over a Four-year Span

Pedestrian Accidents

The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics in motor vehicle crashes saw an increase in road user deaths. From 32,479 in 2011, the U.S. lost at least 33,561 people in roadway crashes in 2012, the year that covered the latest NHTSA data. The said figure was the first increase after six straight years of decrease in the number of deaths.

Upward trends were seen across many categories, including pedestrians. In fact, at least 4,743 pedestrians were killed in 2012, a 6.4-percent increase from the previous year. The 2012 figure accounted for 14 percent of the total number of motor vehicle crash deaths in the U.S. In California, of the 2,857 people killed, about 21 percent of them were pedestrians (621 people).

Increases in pedestrian accident deaths have been around for the past few years. However, a report released earlier this month saw a significant decline in this category, a first over a four-year span. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in the first half of 2013, there were 1,985 deaths as opposed to the first half of the previous year 2012, which saw 2,175 fatalities. In all, it was an 8.7 percent fall between the two.

As the report from the GHSA suggests, it is projected that there would be a significant drop in pedestrian deaths in the year 2013 compared to the previous year, although the full stats are yet to be released. Dr. Alan Williams, the lead researcher for the GHSA, was surprised by this sudden change in trends. He didn’t state any one particular reason for the rise and fall of the pedestrian deaths, but he quickly thought that this was brought about by economics.

He theorized that as the economy recovered from the recession that happened in the late 2000’s, more and more people who once ceased driving their vehicles began going back to their old ways, only to worsen the trend of increasing fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. This is one of the reasons why the increase in 2012 was the first over a seven-year span.

Meanwhile, a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles commented on this report, saying that the decrease in pedestrian fatalities are brought about by continuous educational awareness on the part of local, state, and national government in instilling safety on the roads. California, in fact, had been making strides in doing so; it had 37 fewer pedestrian deaths year over year.