Study highlights rising pedestrian deaths, points toward solutions
Pedestrian deaths have jumped 46 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009, as pedestrian crashes have become both deadlier and more frequent. The increase has been mostly in urban or suburban areas, at nonintersections, on arterials — busy roads designed mainly to funnel vehicle traffic toward freeways — and in the dark, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Crashes were increasingly likely to involve SUVs and high-horsepower vehicles.
A total of 5,987 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2016, accounting for 16 percent of all crash fatalities. The number of pedestrians killed each year has declined 20 percent since 1975, but the 2016 toll was the highest since 1990.
For the new study, IIHS researchers looked at pedestrian crash trends during 2009–16 to pinpoint the circumstances under which the largest increases occurred. Using federal fatality data and crash numbers, the researchers looked at roadway, environmental, personal and vehicle factors to see how they changed over the study period. They also looked at changes in the number of pedestrian deaths relative to the number of pedestrians involved in crashes.