Here is some disturbing news, especially if you are one who likes to go on walks: Pedestrian deaths nationwide jumped 10 percent in 2015 when compared to the previous year. That's the largest year-over-year increase since 1975 when officials began keeping track of the number of pedestrian deaths, the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said.
Authors of the annual "Spotlight on Highway Safety Report" found that 2,368 people on foot were killed in crashes during the first six months of 2015, up from 2,232 between January and June of 2014 according to preliminary data from state highway safety agencies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. After adjusting for anticipated underreporting, GHSA anticipates that final data for 2015 will show a 10 percent rise in the number of pedestrian deaths.
"We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed," said Richard Retting, one of the report's authors. "Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country."
Minnesota continues to be one of the safest places to go for a walk with 0.27 deaths per every 100,000 residents. But the state had 14 pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2015 compared with seven in the same period in 2014.
Four states - California, Florida, Texas and New York - accounted for 42 percent of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2015. Those on foot now account for 15 percent of vehicle crash-related deaths, the report said.
Many factors could explain the spike, the GHSA said. Those include increases in the number of miles driven and the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by motorists and walkers. Additionally, more people are walking for health, economic or environmental reasons, the report said.