More pedestrians are dying in traffic accidents in the U.S., a new analysis indicates. Despite a decline in all other traffic-related deaths combined, the pedestrian death toll has risen sharply over the last decade, a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association says. While federal data show other traffic-related deaths fell by 6 percent from 2008 to 2017, the number of pedestrian fatalities rose by 35 percent, from 4,414 to 5,977. The group's analysis of historical trends and preliminary state data from the first six months of 2018 also projects pedestrian fatalities reached a nearly 30-year high last year. Researchers estimate there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths in 2018, a 4 percent increase since 2017 and "the largest annual number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. since 1990."
In 2016, the number of people who died in traffic accidents dropped by 213, or 5.2 percent, from a year earlier to 3,904. The figure was the third-lowest since 1948, the first year for which comparable data became available. It was last below 4,000 in 1949. The 2016 figure was less than a quarter of the record 16,765 logged in 1970, according to the agency. An agency official attributed the decline to traffic safety education; improved vehicle performance, like automatic brakes; and better road conditions, such as more intersections with clearer lines of sight and easier-to-see traffic lights.