Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pedestrian Safety Progress Continues But More Work Remains

A May 8 CountyStat review of Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative showed that County efforts to improve pedestrian safety are having a positive effect. In 2012, the most severe collisions resulting in debilitating injury (Level 4) or death (Level 5) decreased by 20 percent and fatalities dropped to an all-time low of 0.6 per 100,000 people.

While the CountyStat analysis reveals significant progress, more work remains to be done. So far this year, there have been nine pedestrian fatalities, compared with a total for all of 2012 of six. Nationally, pedestrian collisions have also increased. This uptick illustrates that the work of the Pedestrian Initiative is not done and the difficulty in trying to curb pedestrian collisions that often result from split second decisions made by drivers or pedestrians.

An article by Angie Schmitt in DC.StreetsBlog.org discussed a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control that “found that while 10.5 percent of all trips in the United States are made on foot, pedestrians made up 13 percent of all traffic fatalities between 2001 and 2010. During those years, a staggering 47,392 pedestrians were killed on American roadways.”

Schmitt reported that minority groups and the elderly suffer disproportionately from dangerous conditions for walking.

The County continues engineering, enforcement and education activities to reduce pedestrian collisions, including the following recent efforts: