It’s dangerous, in America, to be a pedestrian, with cars getting bigger and heavier and taller and you still staying the same old killable sack of blood and bones. The Governors Highway Safety Association — a nonprofit “representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico” — said Tuesday that pedestrian deaths on the roads increased in the first half of 2022, to 3,434 pedestrians killed by drivers in that time, up 168 from the same time in 2021. This is not good.
But don’t take my word for it. The GHSA calls it “deeply troubling” and says that the rise follows what was a 40-year high for pedestrian deaths in 2021. The numbers are bad.
GHSA’s annual Spotlight on Highway Safety report offers the first look at state and national trends in 2022 pedestrian traffic deaths based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs). The data analysis found that the recent increase in pedestrian deaths is even more alarming when looking back to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. Pedestrian deaths have surged 18%, or 519 additional lives lost, between the first half of 2019 and 2022. Nationally, there were 1.04 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2022, up significantly from 0.90 in 2019.
GHSA blames big cars, infrastructure that encourages high speeds, bad road design, and also a “surge in dangerous driving that began at the start of the pandemic and has not lessened.” The problem is worse in some states compared to others.
At the state level, pedestrian fatalities increased in 24 states during the first half of 2022. Twenty-one states experienced declines, and the number of pedestrian deaths was unchanged in four states. While 15 states reported consecutive years of more pedestrian fatalities (January-June), only two states reported two straight years of decreases. Oklahoma was unable to provide projections in time for this publication and is therefore omitted from the data analysis conducted for this report.
The data analysis also found that three states – California, Florida and Texas – accounted for 38% of all pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2022 but are home to 28% of the U.S. population. These states have warmer climates, which tend to increase travel on foot, as well as many urban areas where pedestrians and motor vehicles are more likely to share the road.
Stay safe out there, friends.