Increase of up to 10 percent expected
Preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests a significant year-over-year increase in U.S. pedestrian fatalities from 2014 to 2015.
The GHSA compiled data reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia, and found that, after adjusting this preliminary data for anticipated underreporting, the number of pedestrian deaths in 2015 will be 10 percent higher than the 2014 total.
— America Walks (@americawalks) March 8, 2016
Cell phones to blame?
The GHSA cited a number of possible factors that could be contributing to the rise in pedestrian fatalities, including increased usage of cell phones among both walkers and drivers.
Another possible contributing factor noted by the GHSA is increased motor vehicle travel, which can, in turn, be at least partially attributed to improved economic conditions and/or lower gas prices.
Also, more and more Americans now walk for health, economic and/or environmental reasons.
Variation among states
Data on pedestrian deaths over the first half of 2015 varied widely state by state -- an increase in fatalities occurred in 26 states and the District of Columbia, while 21 states reported a decrease and three states reported no change.
States with large urban populations -- California, Florida, Texas and New York -- together accounted for 42 percent of all pedestrian deaths over the first half of 2015, while New Mexico, Florida, Delaware, Nevada, Louisiana, South Carolina and Arizona had the highest number of fatalities per 100,000 people.