Fewer Drivers in 2020, More Pedestrian Deaths

In 2020, the number of of deaths and the rate of death based on miles driven escalated.  Drivers struck and killed an estimated 6,721 pedestrians last year despite fewer cars on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was an unprecedented 21% spike in the pedestrian fatality rate from 2019 to 2020 which was the largest ever annual increase as a result of traffic crashes since the government’s tracking system was established in 1975.

GHSA’s Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2020 Preliminary Data and subsequent addendum offer the first comprehensive look at state and national trends in pedestrian deaths for the full year (January-December). The report projects the U.S. pedestrian fatality rate per billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) jumped to 2.3 deaths in 2020 – an unprecedented 21% increase from 1.9 in 2019.

Pedestrian Deaths Up Over Past Decade

Pedestrians accounted for 17% of all traffic deaths in 2019, compared to 13% in 2010. Pedestrian deaths have risen by 46% over the past decade, but the number of all other traffic deaths increased by only 5%.

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