Pedestrian fatalities are increasing in Ohio and across the United States, according to a troubling report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. In fact, pedestrian deaths spiked by over 17% nationwide during the first six months of 2021.
In April 2022, the GHSA collected pedestrian fatality statistics from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for 2021. A preliminary analysis of the data found that an estimated 3,441 pedestrians were killed during the first half of the year, a 17.3% increase over 2020’s first half total. The organization estimated 7,485 pedestrians lost their lives over the whole of 2021, which is an increase of 11.5% over 2020 and the largest number in four decades.
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia had a jump in pedestrian fatalities in 2021. Florida and Texas both reported more than 100 additional deaths compared to 2020, while Georgia, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arkansas saw increases of more than 30%. Ohio experienced an increase of 16.5%.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, California reported 63 fewer pedestrian deaths. Kentucky, Mississippi, Connecticut, Missouri, Rhode Island, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Kansas also experienced a drop in fatalities.
Reasons for spike in pedestrian deaths
According to the GHSA, there are a number of reasons behind the increase in fatal pedestrian accidents, including:
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Infrastructure issues
- Larger vehicles on the road
To reverse the deadly trend, the organization endorsed the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe System. The approach calls for better speed management, infrastructure improvements, safer road designs, improved post-crash response, vehicle safety advancements, community outreach and equitable enforcement of traffic safety laws.