The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has issued their 2017 report on pedestrian deaths, and Arizona is at the top of the list.
The governors’ association, which calls itself as “the states’ voice on highway safety,” found that five states — California, Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona — accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrian traffic deaths. Arizona’s population is much lower than any of these states, yet we rank fifth in actual pedestrian deaths.
The high rate of pedestrian fatalities in Arizona is almost double the national average of 0.81 deaths per 100,000 people and translates to 113 people killed from January through June of 2017. That’s an increase from 101 during the same time frame in 2016.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) in Arizona said Wednesday that the total number of pedestrian deaths for 2017 rose to 224 from the previous year.
The states with the most pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people were Arizona, New Mexico, Delaware, Louisiana and Florida.
The report cites statistics from the first half of 2017, says Arizona had 1.61 deaths per 100,000 people in that timeframe. That’s the highest per capita rate in the country, and nearly double the national average of 0.81 deaths per 100,000 people.
New Mexico had the second-highest rate, at 1.48. Hawaii had the lowest per capita rate, at 0.07.
The report says public officials are attempting to make streets safety for pedestrians via education campaigns, more pedestrian-friendly planning and targeted law enforcement.
The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety recently received nearly $800,000 in a grant from the NHTSA for bicycle and pedestrian enforcement and education efforts in Arizona. Last year, 30 bicyclists died in our state. The funding for the grant will focus primarily on the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas. Some of the money will go towards PSA announcements in English and Spanish on radio and TV.
According to state officials, the second portion of the effort will focus on targeted enforcement. Since January, there have been 14 traffic fatalities in the city, compared to eight at this time last year, police information shows.
Let’s hope these efforts can help reduce this disturbing trend in pedestrian deaths in Arizona. Be safe out there and always use a crosswalk.