• April 13th, 2017

With Pedestrian Deaths Surging in 2016, Now is the Time for Action

Statement for attribution to Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Director Jonathan Adkins

WASHINGTON, D.C. – State Highway Safety Offices and their partners should broaden their anti-drunk driving campaigns to encourage bicyclists and pedestrians to consider safer transportation alternatives after heavy drinking. As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported today, the ratios of fatally injured alcohol-impaired bicyclists and pedestrians have not fallen as dramatically as the proportion of impaired motor vehicle drivers killed, and this remains a significant problem. In fact, surprisingly, more than one-third of pedestrians and one-fifth of bicyclists killed in crashes in 2014 were legally drunk.

Alcohol impairment can lead to unsafe behavior by bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as drivers. We agree with IIHS’s recommendations to curtail overserving alcohol and to support more ride-sharing options. These strategies could complement the range of proven countermeasures to decrease risks for pedestrians and bicyclists and prevent deaths across the board for all road users. We also concur with IIHS that further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to reduce alcohol-impairment among bicyclists and pedestrians.

This IIHS research finding comes on the heels of GHSA’s annual pedestrian safety report, which projects an unprecedented 11% increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2016, further illustrating the need to re-calibrate our traffic safety efforts to better protect all road users.

Released on April 12, 2017

Contact: Madison Forker, mforker@ghsa.org

202-789-0942 x 120