Pedestrian fatalities on U.S. roadways declined by 8.7 percent during the first half of last year, reversing four years of increases, according to preliminary data released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
Pennsylvania saw one of the biggest drops in pedestrian deaths, nearly 36 percent, compared to the same six-month period of 2012. There were 52 pedestrians killed on state roads from January to June 2013, the association reported.
"The preliminary findings are good news, but it's too soon to celebrate," said association chairman Kendell Poole, in a release accompanying the report. "Recognizing that the safety of all roadway users is a priority for the association and our members, we must remain focused on pushing the numbers down in all 50 states. With distraction an increasing issue for both pedestrians and motorists, pedestrian safety continues to be a priority in many areas of the country."
Pedestrian deaths rose by about 15 percent from 2009 to 2012, at a time when overall traffic crash fatalities were declining. That followed a long period of reduced pedestrian fatalities, from more than 7,500 in 1975 to an all-time low of 4,109 in 2009.
The recession and an increased emphasis on walking for health benefits might have contributed to the increases in recent years, the association said.
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1868 and on Twitter @pgtraffic.