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Pedestrian traffic deaths rising in Ohio, US

One person was killed in a pedestrian strike at U.S. 35 and Woodman Drive on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

Do you like to go for walks? Be careful if you are walking on or near a road.

Pedestrian deaths have been rising in the U.S. for years, according to a report released earlier this summer by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

And statistics released by the Ohio Department of Public Safety show the same trend in Ohio.

Last year, drivers struck and killed at least 7,508 people walking in the United States in 2022, the Governors Highway Safety Association study says. That’s a 41-year high, the most pedestrian deaths since 1981.

Moreover, pedestrian deaths have jumped 77% since 2010, compared to 25% for all other traffic-related deaths.

“Every day, 20 people go for a walk and do not return home. These are people living their daily lives — commuting to and from school and work, picking up groceries, walking the dog, getting some exercise — who died suddenly and violently,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Chief Executive Officer.

“The saddest part is that these crashes are preventable. We know what works — better-designed infrastructure, lower speeds, addressing risky driving behaviors that pose a danger to people walking. We must do these things and more to reverse this awful trend and protect people on foot. Enough is enough,” he said.

The Ohio Highway Patrol, which says it keeps pedestrian death statistics only for the past five years, reported a similar trend. Ohio had less than 140 pedestrian deaths a year four years ago — 133 in 2018 and 128 in 2019. But for three recent years, there have been more than 160 a year: 166 in 2020, 176 in 2021 and 165 last year.

The GHSA report says most pedestrian deaths occur at night and that a growing number of deaths occur in roads that have no sidewalks.

“The presence of sidewalks can help protect people walking by separating them from motor vehicle traffic, but additional infrastructure design considerations, such as raised crosswalks and traffic calming that slows vehicle speeds, can provide even more protection,” the report notes.

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to die in pedestrian accidents, the report says.

“While all states have Move Over laws that require drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching a stopped vehicle, the fact that more than 1,300 pedestrians died on freeways indicates these laws need to be strengthened, better publicized and more heavily enforced,” the GHSA report says.

The GHSA report states that significant numbers of people die when they are struck by drivers on freeways or busy highways.

Former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, 24, was struck and killed in April 2022 when he was attempting to walk across a busy Florida highway, according to news reports. Haskins, who had continued to pursue an NFL career, was intoxicated at the time, according to a police report.

Source: The Courier



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