GHSA's annual spotlight report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2021 Preliminary Data, offers a comprehensive look at state and national trends in pedestrian deaths for 2021. The report projects that drivers struck and killed 7,485 people walking in 2021 – the most in a single year in four decades.
GHSA previously issued a report finding there were 2,957 pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2021, based on preliminary data reported by State Highway Safety Offices. A second report analyzing data for all of 2021 found that roadways continued to be extremely dangerous to pedestrians. Nationwide for the entire year, there were 2.32 pedestrian deaths per billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2021, up slightly from 2.3 the year before but well above the historic average of 1.9. In addition to the preliminary 2021 state-reported data, the report also analyzes 2020 data in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to further explore safety trends. That data analysis revealed a troubling statistic: The percentage of speeding-related pedestrian deaths among children younger than 15 has more than doubled since 2018, from 5.8% to 11.9%.
The report examines key trends affecting this rise in pedestrian deaths, including increased reckless driving behaviors, the need for safer road crossings and efforts to make pedestrians more visible through better lighting and other strategies, and the continued uptick in sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which cause more severe pedestrian impacts in the event of a collision. The report also discusses how the comprehensive Safe System approach that leverages engineering, public education, emergency response and equitable enforcement is essential for reducing crashes and saving lives, and shares examples of successful programs that keep people on foot safe and can be replicated elsewhere in the country.
- Download Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2021 Preliminary Data
- GHSA Issue Toolkit: Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety
Infographics Available for Download
JPEGs of the following infographics are available for download under "Resource Downloads" below.