There was less traffic and more accidents in 2020

According to the Department of Transportation, there were 129 fatal pedestrian accidents in Maryland in 2021. That number is just slightly lower than the 131 pedestrian fatalities Maryland had in 2020. Across the entire country, pedestrian fatalities have been higher than they have been since the 1980s.

Fewer vehicle miles traveled, more accidents

The number of vehicle miles traveled decreased significantly in 2020 due to the lockdowns. Despite less traffic on the roads, fatal car accidents spiked. Specifically, pedestrian fatalities rose to the highest numbers that they had been at since the 1980s.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration both collect car accident data from different sources. Data collected by both agencies shows the same thing: the number of fatal pedestrian accidents was higher in 2020 than it had been in over 30 years.

One out of every five traffic fatalities is a pedestrian

According to the NHTSA, 20% of traffic fatalities in 2020 were pedestrian deaths. In 2011, pedestrian deaths only made up 16% of traffic fatalities. It will take more time for government agencies to analyze data from 2021 and determine whether the rise in pedestrian traffic fatalities continued. One other motor vehicle topic that could be related is distracted driving.

What is causing the rise in pedestrian fatalities?

It’s unclear what factors are causing the rise in pedestrian deaths. However, it’s important for pedestrians to be aware that walking near traffic is more dangerous than it has ever been. Distracted driving could be a factor in rising accident numbers, so pedestrians should be extra careful at crosswalks. It’s also vital to not become a distracted walker, so remember to put your smartphone away while crossing streets.

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