More pedestrians killed in U.S. in 2015 vs 2014

A study released this spring shows a jump in pedestrian fatalities in the majority of U.S. states, including West Virginia.

Walking has been well-documented to be a good form of exercise for people. West Virginians can enjoy walking in a variety of settings from urban settings to mountain trails and more. However, when walking in locations where vehicles may be present, they must be very careful. The same holds true for people simply walking across parking lots or streets while running errands.

The Governors Highway Safety Association released a study a few months ago that compared pedestrian deaths across America from January to June 2014 to the same period in 2015. The results were disappointing. The data showed a jump in pedestrian fatalities in more than half of all U.S. states and the District of Columbia. West Virginia was one of those states.

2014 vs 2015

The Boston Globe provided an in-depth look at the number of fatalities in each state for the 2014 reporting period and the corresponding 2015 period. In looking at West Virginia and its neighboring areas, five out of seven experienced an increase in the number of pedestrians killed .

Detailed information shows the following:

  • In West Virginia, pedestrian fatalities increased by 57 percent.
  • Ohio lost 56 pedestrians in 2015 compared to 25 the year before - a 124 percent increase.
  • Washington D.C.'s pedestrian deaths increased 40 percent.
  • Virginia experienced a jump of 28 percent.
  • In Kentucky, 20 percent more people on foot were killed in 2015 than in 2014.

Only Pennsylvania and Maryland had fewer pedestrian deaths in 2015 than in 2014.

West Virginia's history of pedestrian fatalities

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration give a glimpse into the ongoing problems that pedestrians face in West Virginia. Between 2010 and 2014, 111 people on foot lost their lives in accidents statewide. Of those five years, 2012 was the deadliest with 31 pedestrians dying in traffic accidents.

What can be done to help?

Walking on sidewalks or designated paths, overpasses or underpasses is recommended for pedestrians when they are available. When walking, people are advised to remain aware and undistracted by phones or other devices.

Municipalities may be able to help by improving street and crosswalk lighting and traffic signal timing. The addition of speed bumps, roundabouts, bike lanes and more have also been shown effective in reducing pedestrian-vehicle accidents.

When an accident does happen, victims should not hesitate to reach out to an attorney for help. Compensation may be available to cover medical costs, lost income and more.