Pedestrian deaths from car crashes surge 10 percent
Going for a walk? Keep an eye out.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released its annual Spotlight on Highway Safety Report, revealing an estimated ten percent increase in pedestrian fatalities between 2014 and 2015, the largest year to year increase on record.
More than 2,300 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the first half of 2015. Seventy-two percent of the fatalities occurred in the dark.
Economic conditions, demographics, weather conditions, fuel prices, the amount of motor vehicle travel, and the amount of time people spend walking are all listed as contributing factors to the change in pedestrian fatalities, according to the report.
Dr. Allan Griffith, an emergency medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group Immediate Care on the campus of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., believes that irresponsible and reckless behaviors are important factors in this unfortunate trend.
“Both alcohol and marijuana are horrible drugs if one wishes to do anything that entails full concentration and quick reflexes,” says Dr. Griffith. “Drivers, pedestrians and bikers are all affected by the use of alcohol and drugs.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts, alcohol involvement for either the driver or pedestrian was reported in about half of the traffic crashes that occurred in 2013.
Other causes for the increase in pedestrian fatalities could include improved vehicle structures that help safeguard drivers and passengers but leave pedestrians susceptible to injury and death and the growing use of cell phones among both walker and drivers.
“I wish people using cell phones would recognize the distraction factor is stronger than most think, probably as much of a safety factor as alcohol and drugs,” Dr. Griffith adds.
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.