You can love your vehicle, and spend as much time as you possibly can cruising around in it, but at some point, everyone is a pedestrian. That’s the idea behind the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new campaign to combat rising pedestrian fatalities. A new website, nhtsa.gov/everyoneisapedestrian, and millions of dollars in available grants characterize a program that the agency hopes will be able to curb rising death and injury rates.
Pedestrians were one of only a few demographics to experience a rise in death rates in the United States last year, accounting for 14% of total traffic fatalities. Last Monday, the U.S. Transportation Secretary announced the new set of tools he plans to use to help communities, and added that the NHTSA will be offering $2 million in pedestrian safety grants to cities that are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. “Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” said the Transportation Secretary. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.” Educational resources provided by the NHTSA include safe walking tips, research and statistics, programs and activities, and a page for curriculums and resources when teaching others.
As it currently stands, statistics state that one person will be injured in a pedestrian accident every eight minutes, and another will die every two hours. Nearly three out of four pedestrians killed by motor vehicles live in urban areas, so if you live in Chicago it is particularly important that you pay attention to your surroundings and do whatever you can to remain safe. We know that people don’t always adhere to the laws and signals given to them on the road, but the level of distracted driving and walking has experienced a staggering increase in past years. Many people walk down busy sidewalks and through roadways with headphones on, or while texting on their phones, and many drivers practice the same worrying habits while operating a vehicle. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
States have until August 30th to apply for a grant from the NHTSA, for use in educating their citizens about the dangers of distraction and other hazardous activities. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, additional information and pedestrian data is featured in the NHTSA’s latest issue of their online newsletter, Safety 1N Numbers, which can be found on their website.