Examining the Increase in Pedestrian Fatalities in the United States, 2009–2018
Over the period from 2009 to 2018, pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased 53%, from 4,109 to 6,283, after decreasing for three decades (National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 2019; Schneider, 2020; Webb, 2019). The proportion of all traffic fatalities that were pedestrians increased from 12% to 17% over the same time period (Webb, 2019). Between 2010 and 2017, the U.S. experienced the largest percentage increase in pedestrian fatalities among 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development, 24 of which saw decreases in pedestrian fatalities (International Transport Forum, 2019).
Although major risk factors for pedestrian crashes, injuries, and deaths are well documented (e.g., high speeds, large vehicles, poor lighting) and some studies have examined long-term trends in pedestrian fatalities, not much is known about the factors underlying the large increase in pedestrian fatalities in recent years. The main objective of this research was to examine more closely the increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2009 to 2018 through analysis of changes in the presence of certain pedestrian, driver, vehicle, and environmental factors. The outcomes of this analysis are also described in the context of other recent and topical studies.
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