The return to business activity and traffic in 2021 was accompanied by a rise in pedestrian deaths. The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration estimated that 3,441 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents for the first half of 2021. This was a 17 percent increase compared to that same time in 2020.
In its report, the GHSA took into consideration that large parts of the country were locked down in 2020 which could impact data on motor vehicle accidents. It included 2019 data for a pre-lockdown comparison.
The GHSA’s report, however, classified the 507 additional deaths between the two years as preventable. Pedestrian fatality rates per population and vehicle miles traveled were disturbingly high.
This increase is part of a continuing dangerous trend for pedestrians. Pedestrian fatalities rose by 46 percent from 4,457 to in 2011 to 6,516 in 2020. Pedestrian deaths constituted 17 percent of all traffic deaths during that time.
There were 2.3 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles travelled for the first six months of 2021. This topped the previous record of 2.2 deaths per VMT in 2020.
Overall traffic fatalities also rose. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 31,720 people were killed in accidents in the first three quarters of 2021. This is the highest number of traffic deaths during the first nine months of a year since 2006.
Florida’s deadly increase
Florida, California, and Texas, with 27 percent of the U.S. population, had 37 percent of all pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2021. More pedestrian traffic because of warmer climates and these states’ urban areas accounted for this statistic.
Florida was among 38 other states and the District of Columbia which reported higher pedestrian deaths for the first six months of 2021. Florida also had other troubling data:
- Florida pedestrian deaths rose from 339 for the first six months of 2020 to an estimated 444 fatalities for the same period in 2021. There were 385 pedestrian deaths for the first six months of 2019.
- Florida had a 30.97 increase in pedestrian deaths, 105 additional fatalities, from the first half of 2020 compared to that period in 2021.
- There were 1.57 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people for the first six months of 2020 which rose to 2.04 per 100,000 one year later.
Pedestrians have almost no protection against vehicles which have become larger and more dangerous. These accidents may be deadly or cause life-long and costly injuries. Attorneys can assist victims and their families with seeking compensation from negligent or reckless drivers and other parties.