Distracted Driving Factor in Projected 10 Percent Jump in 2015 Pedestrian Fatalities

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has issued a new report projecting a 10 percent rise in 2015 pedestrian fatalities versus the prior year. Projections are based on 2015 pedestrian fatality trends as reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia.

Never in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which was instituted in 1975, has a double-digit increase in pedestrian fatalities occurred from one year to the next. In many years the number of fatalities has decreased, and the previous maximum year-to-year increase in fatalities was 8.1 percent.

Numerous reasons are likely culprits for the unprecedented rise in pedestrian fatalities. Distracting driving, including texting and driving, is taking drivers’ eyes off the road. Likewise, distracted walking is also contributing to the fatalities rise as pedestrians aren’t aware of their surroundings or ready to react when they eyes are fixated on a mobile device.

Other factors that may contribute to the rise in pedestrian fatalities include continually safer vehicles that protect drivers but not pedestrians, more pedestrians walking outdoors for exercise, and the lowest gas prices in the past decade leading to more vehicles on the road.

The GHSA continues to work toward improving pedestrian safety, such as the recently passed and instituted federal surface transportation bill, the FAST Act, that empowers states with additional resources.

Goldberg & Osborne is helping spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through the Goldberg & Osborne Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship.