Pedestrian deaths across the nation continue to increase year after year as federal and state policies and roadway designs produce roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for people on foot, a recent report says.
Alarming Trend in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian fatalities in urban areas are up 69% over the last 10 years, according to data compiled by nonpartisan advocacy groups Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition and reported by The Chicago Tribune. Last year, the toll of pedestrian deaths reached its highest level since 1990.
The projections are that 25 states will experience increases in the number of pedestrian deaths in 2019, according to the Tribune.
How Many Pedestrian’s Die Each Year from Accidents?
The study, Dangerous by Design 2019, says between 2008 and 2017, drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets across the United States. That’s more than 13 people per day.
In 2008, 4,109 pedestrians died. Last year, 6,283 pedestrians died in auto accidents, up 3.4%from 2017.
Overall, the number of people struck by motor vehicles and killed while walking increased by 35 percent over the decade.
Nighttime fatalities were up 4.6% from 2017 to 2018. Pedestrian deaths in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes increased by 2.2%.
New 2019 Trends in Pedestrian Accidents in New York
The Smart Growth America study ranks the New York metro area 93rd among the 100 largest metros, with 3,210 pedestrian deaths from 2008 to 2017. That is an average of 321 per year.
The New York-Newark-Jersey City metro is assigned a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 27.1.
The index measures how deadly it is for people to walk based on the number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking while controlling for the number of people that live in that state or metro area and the share of people who walk to work. The higher a metro area’s PDI, the more dangerous it is for people walking.
Some other New York metros are more dangerous than NYC for pedestrians:
• Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY, ranked 68th with 131 pedestrian deaths in the decade and a PDI of 44.2.
• Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY, ranked 84th with 106 pedestrian deaths in the decade and a PDI of 34.6.
• Rochester, NY, ranked 91st with 110 pedestrian deaths in the decade and a PDI of 29.1.
Syracuse, NY, was less dangerous, ranking 96th with 71 pedestrian deaths in the decade and a PDI of 23.8.
New York’s statewide PDI is 24.6 for 2019. This is based on 2,958 pedestrian fatalities over the course of the decade, a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 people.
The New York State Department of Health says 312 people die each year in pedestrian accidents in New York, on average. Another 3,027 pedestrians on average are hospitalized after being hit by a motor vehicle, and 12,506 go to the emergency room after a pedestrian accident.
The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL, metro area ranked No. 1 for pedestrian danger, with 656 pedestrian fatalities from 2008 to 2017 and a PDI of 313.3. Florida metro areas, which attract many retired seniors, occupy the top six spots on the list and eight out of the Top 10.
“While traffic deaths impact every community in the United States, states and metropolitan areas across the southern continental United States, older adults, people of color and people walking in low-income communities bear a higher share of this harm,” Smart Growth America says.
Why Are More Pedestrians Dying In Car Accidents?
Several traffic experts who were interviewed in the article refer to the often-cited reasons for increasing pedestrian deaths:
• Distracted drivers
• Larger vehicles
• More people walking and bicycling in urban areas.
But Smart Growth researchers say changes in government priorities that put a priority on high-speed roads is the key to improving traffic safety and reducing pedestrian deaths. New York City is taking steps to redesign streets and slow down traffic to make roads safer, as part of the Vision Zero plan that sets a goal of zero traffic deaths.
“Our federal policies, standards and funding mechanisms that have been in place for decades produce dangerous roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for all people,” the report says.
The report also said the popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks also contribute to pedestrian deaths. These types of larger vehicles are two to three times more likely than smaller cars to kill people in the event of a pedestrian collision.
The report calls upon Congress to adopt policies that change the way success is measured in street design to make streets safe for all people who use the street, including people walking.
Ways to Stay Safe While Walking in NYC
Most New Yorkers are pedestrians at some point during the day, whether it’s while walking to work, walking from the office to get lunch or walking home from a subway or bus stop. The NHTSA offers safety tips for when we walk along the streets. They include:
1. Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals. Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians.
2. Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. When there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
3. Keep your eyes on the road. Don’t walk while distracted, such as by talking on the phone or listening to electronic devices.
4. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
5. Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
Call Top NYC Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
A person hit by a car, SUV or truck is likely to be seriously injured. Keep in mind that if a driver was at fault for the pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver’s insurance for your medical bills and other losses.
Contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C.
The New York City pedestrian accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can review the details of how you were injured in a pedestrian accident and discuss whether you have a claim. Call the firm today or use our online contact form for a free consultation. While every case stands on its own, we have a record of getting results for accident victims in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx and all of New York City.