Toledo, OH (March 14, 2018) – According to preliminary data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian strikes nationwide have been on the rise in the last two years – a trend that concerns many safety advocates. As the days get longer and warmer temperatures move into the tri-state area, more travelers will be on the roads walking, running and riding bicycles, prompting AAA to urge caution to pedestrians and motorists alike.
GHSA projects nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2017, marking the second year in a row at numbers not seen in 25 years. In 2016, GHSA reports 5,987 people on foot lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes. Based on 2016 data collected by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ohio ranked 39th in pedestrians deaths with 139 people losing their lives when struck by motor vehicles.
GHSA's annual Spotlight on Highway Safety provides the first glimpse at state and national trends in pedestrian traffic fatalities for 2017, using preliminary data provided by the highway safety offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. "Two consecutive years of 6,000 pedestrian deaths is a red flag for all of us in the traffic safety community. These high levels are no longer a blip but unfortunately a sustained trend," GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins explains. "We can't afford to let this be the new normal."
According to GHSA, pedestrians now account for approximately 16 percent of all motor vehicle deaths, compared with 11 percent just a few years ago.
“There can be many factors why the number of pedestrian strikes are going up,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “But both the pedestrian and motorist share the responsibility of creating safe roadways.”
For pedestrians, AAA recommends the following:
- Be visible – wear light-colored or reflective clothing and walk in well-lit areas
- Stay alert – avoid distractions and put down your smartphone and do not wear headphones in both ears
- Follow the rules – know your city’s traffic rules, signs, and signals
- Walk in safe places – use crosswalks and walk on sidewalks whenever possible
- Avoid drug or alcohol impairment.
For motorists, AAA recommends the following:
- Be alert. Look out for pedestrians at all times and follow posted speed limits.
- Drive with caution near crosswalks. Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk and when approaching a crosswalk, reduce your speed and prepare to stop.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time, reflexes and decision-making skills.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.