New report reveals urgent need for pedestrian safety

Barbara Hoffman, Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance

Barbara speaking

Walking across town should never cost someone their life. Unfortunately, this tragic scenario has become increasingly common over the last decade, according to a new report from Smart Growth America entitled Dangerous By Design 2019

According to the report, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased 35% in ten years.

Arizona district tops list of most unsafe congressional districts for pedestrians

The Smart Growth America report also ranked congressional districts across the country based on how dangerous they are for people walking. Arizona’s 7th district, which includes the city of Phoenix, topped the report’s list.

In Arizona’s 7th district, 344 pedestrians lost their lives between 2008 and 2017 at a rate of 4.48 fatalities per 100,000 people. That’s the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation.

Arizona’s 1st district, 9th district, and 3rd district also ranked among the 100 most unsafe congressional districts for pedestrians nationwide, according to the report.

Street design key to improving pedestrian safety

According to the report, one major challenge is that typical street designs prioritize helping cars move quickly at the expense of pedestrian safety.

Smart Growth America is urging lawmakers to pass national legislation, called The Complete Streets Act of 2019, that would require states to set aside funding for creating and adopting safer street designs that prioritize safety for everyone on the road. U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona’s 7th district is a cosponsor of the Act.

Fully self-driving cars have the potential to improve pedestrian safety

In addition to designing streets specifically for pedestrian safety, technology can also play a role in helping everyone reach their destination safely.

Red Means Stop partnered with Let’s Talk Self-Driving to tell the story of how fully self-driving technology has the potential to make our roads safer for pedestrians and other road users and why this is important.

Fully self-driving technology is constantly vigilant and can see up to three football fields away, 360 degrees, day or night, and is designed to be a cautious, defensive driver. Self-driving cars can’t get distracted, drunk, or text while driving.

Read more about technology as a possible solution for pedestrian safety.

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