• March 19th, 2019

In recent years, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States has grown sharply. During the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities increased by 35 percent (from 4,414 deaths in 2008 to 5,977 deaths in 2017); meanwhile, the combined number of all other traffic deaths declined by six percent. Along with the increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities, pedestrian deaths as a percentage of total motor vehicle crash deaths increased from 12 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2017.

Earlier studies by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), based on preliminary data reported by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs), were the first to predict recent increases in pedestrian fatalities. The present study, based on preliminary data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC), found the alarming rise in pedestrian deaths observed in both 2015 and 2016 appears to have resumed in 2018, although at a lesser pace. For the first six months of 2018 GHSA found a three percent increase in the reported number of pedestrian fatalities compared with the first six months of 2017. However, after adjusting for anticipated underreporting in the preliminary state data and considering the historic trends in pedestrian fatalities during the first and second halves of the year, GHSA estimates the nationwide number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 was 6,227, an increase of four percent from 2017. This projection represents a continuation of an increasing trend in pedestrian deaths going back to 2009 and would be the largest annual number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. since 1990.