More Pedestrian Deaths in PA and Nationwide

Report Faults Distracted Driving and Walking Among Other Factors

Joe DeStio
February 28, 2019 - 12:18 pm
More pedestrians are being hit by vehicles in Pennsylvania and a new report says more of them are dying.

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – More pedestrians are being hit by vehicles in Pennsylvania and a new report says more of them are dying.

Pennsylvania saw a 41 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2018 according to a study from the Governor’s Highway safety Association. Ninety pedestrians were killed in the state over that period compared to 64 in 2017.

“Crossing the street should not be a death sentence,” says report author Richard Retting.

In the city of Pittsburgh officials say they are trying to be proactive to prevent pedestrian deaths. Department of Mobility and Infrastructure Traffic Engineer Katy Sawyer says distracted driving and distracted walking are both factors. And she says the city is working on new ways of getting motorists to slow down on neighborhood streets.

“Traveling in a vehicle at 20 mph, if they hit a pedestrian, that pedestrian has about a nine in ten chance of surviving that crash,” said Sawyer. That’s why the city has started to install so-called pedestrian islands. “They tend to slow down vehicles traveling through that corridor and they also provide pedestrians a place to wait in the middle of the street that is out of traffic.”

Nationwide, the number of people killed on streets was the highest in 28 years. The report also blames impaired drivers, more SUV’s which are heavier and cause more damage if they hit someone, and the fact that more people are walking. Night crashes account for most of the increase in pedestrian deaths.

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