Federal and state transportation officials are joining hands to brainstorm pedestrian safety strategies through a series of virtual webinars.
The first of the virtual webinars was hosted recently, and transportation officials came together to understand some of the most common issues facing pedestrians in 2020. There is no doubt that there is an absolute need for federal transportation officials to focus on lowering pedestrian accident death rates across the country.
Those numbers have been increasing at great speed. In 2018, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 6,283 pedestrians killed in accidents across the country. That was a staggering increase of 53% from the figures in 2008. The 2018 figures were the highest on record since 1990. They also comprised 17% of all traffic accident fatalities that year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, there seems to have been a 2% drop in the number of pedestrian accident deaths recorded in 2019, and that does provide a small glimmer of hope.
Clearly, there is a need to brainstorm ways that pedestrians can be kept safe on our roads. The proportion of pedestrians being killed in traffic accidents is increasing significantly, and more measures need to be mapped out in order to help reduce those numbers. Pedestrian safety infrastructure enhancements play a major role in helping keep pedestrians safe. Pedestrian populations in many cities including Indianapolis, have increased over the past decade, without sufficient infrastructure enhancements to protect their safety.
While we encourage pedestrians to walk not just for recreation, but also to reduce congestion on the streets, it is also important to make sure that the streets are designed to keep pedestrians safe while walking. Greater awareness of pedestrian rights, including pedestrian of way in so many situations, is also something that is lacking in many motorists. Officials need to take this into account as well.