Huntsville police recently announced the kickoff of a new pedestrian awareness campaign, according to the Huntsville Times. And with good reason – pedestrian accidents continue to be a leading cause of serious and fatal injuries statewide and across the nation.
A new report by Transportation For America takes a look at all of the pedestrian accidents that have occurred nationwide in the last decade. During this time there were approximately 47,000 pedestrian deaths and roughly 688,000 pedestrian injuries that occurred on roadways across the U.S.
Now, Dangerous by Design 2011 will look at the pedestrian accidents in Alabama and elsewhere in the United States in an attempt to construct solutions to fix this deadly problem that is too often overlooked.
Our Alabama personal injury attorneys understand that one of the most beneficial ways to avoid these serious accidents is to examine and fix poor driving habits. Most of these accidents occur because of driver inattention.
Transportation For America offers a plethora of detailed data on their website, including interactive road maps that illustrate the areas that pedestrians have been injured and killed on the roads in your community. Through these maps you will be able to identify which streets are safer than others and which ones you should avoid altogether as a pedestrian.
According to this data, Alabama experienced nearly 700 pedestrian fatalities over the course of the decade. These fatal accidents cost the state nearly $3 billion. Our state was ranked 5th, out of all 50 states for having the safest roadways for pedestrians. While were proud to be ranked in the top 5, there are still a number of pedestrian’s lives that could be saved if we improve our roadways and improve our driving skills. Overall, Alabama has a Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) of 116.7. Asians were the most affected in these pedestrian accidents as they experienced nearly 3 deaths per population of 100,000 people. The older population was affected more than any other age group, more specifically those ages 60- to 65-years-old.
The most dangerous areas in Alabama:
metro area/pedestrian deaths
Most of these deaths happened along arterial roads. It is these arterial roadways that are funded by the federal government. These streets are engineered specifically to accommodate speedy traffic and have few safety measures for on-foot travelers.
Here’s the kicker. Congress is contemplating eliminating what safety funds currently exist. This would leave absolutely no funding for pedestrian safety. Currently the pedestrian funds make up less than 1.5 percent of the entire federal transportation outlay. Even after the release of this report, Congress still finds this to be too much to spend on the safety of our residents. The federal government continues to insist that these pedestrian safety features are the responsibility of local government. So the feds are angling to yank these funds from federal roads, which is where a majority of these accidents occur. Shouldn’t the taxpayers have a say in where their tax dollars are spent?
Not in the eyes of the federal government. Their number one priority is the flow of speedy and efficient traffic on roadways across the nation.
Residents are urged to contact Congress in an attempt to persuade them to keep this important safety fund for our community roads.
Just a few hours after this Transportation For America report was released, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and eleven co-sponsors formally introduced the Complete Streets Act of 2011. This is an act that would require that streets to be safe and accessible for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and all other that use our areas sidewalks.