In a recent study, 24/7 Wall St. examined the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission’s data from traffic-related death rates in 2014 and compared the data to the same in 2004.
New Mexico topped the list with 3.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents. The least deadly state was Minnesota, who had just 0.27 deaths per 100,000 people, and New Jersey was ranked at 10, with 1.88 per 100,000.
How are states ranked?
States’ rankings were calculated by their pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 people. 76 percent of pedestrian deaths occur in populous urban areas – residents are more likely to be walking on streets and roads. Other factors that can contribute to pedestrian fatalities include speed limits and availability of sidewalks.
Other states in the top ten in order are Alaska at number 9, then Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana, Nevada, Delaware and finally Florida in the number two spot. The study also looked at total pedestrian and traffic deaths. New Jersey’s total pedestrian fatalities were 168, which is the sixth highest in the nation. Total traffic fatalities in the state were 556, ranked at 22nd nationally.
Improvements are needed across the board
Some states’ pedestrian fatalities have dropped, like Minnesota’s – the state’s pedestrian deaths decreased 63% between 2004 and 2014. However, Rhode Island saw pedestrian fatalities increase over 100 percent in the same time frame.
Although government agencies are able to identify and study pedestrian death rates and risks involved, it is up to individual states and even down to local governing bodies to identify the unique challenges they face. Legislators, local government officials and safety experts need to all work together to focus their efforts and help make pedestrian fatalities a thing of the past.