While traffic fatalities nationwide have decreased in recent years, the number of people dying while walking is on the rise. Your chance of losing your life as a pedestrian is higher in Texas than it is in most other states, with Texas listed among the nations top five states for pedestrian deaths.
According to Houston Public Media, pedestrian deaths across the nation rose by 3.4% in 2018, reaching their highest number in decades. Texas, alone, saw 10% of those pedestrian fatalities. What is to blame for the uptick, and is there anything communities should do to enhance your safety while walking near roadways?
Why pedestrian deaths are rising
Safety advocates attribute several different factors to the rise in pedestrian deaths. The fact that more people are out walking likely plays a role. So, too, does the fact that more drivers are opting for large SUVs, rather than smaller passenger vehicles that may do less damage. Since 2013, the number of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs has risen by 50%.
The fact that many high-traffic areas lack crosswalks may also contribute to rising pedestrian fatality rates. While it may prove tempting to cross a road where a crosswalk does not exist, rather than walking to where one is, avoid doing so or risk becoming a statistic.
What communities should do
Some believe that Texas should take a cue from some of the states that have seen recent decreases in pedestrian deaths and make similar efforts to enhance safety. Adding crosswalks and similar infrastructure in areas prone to high pedestrian activity is one such effort. Managing and lowering speed limits in these areas is another.