Stay Alert: Half of D.C.’s Traffic-Related Deaths Are Pedestrians
Although traffic in the nation’s capital has always been an issue, the rising number of traffic-related pedestrian deaths is becoming more of a cause for concern. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 13 of the 24 traffic-related fatalities that occurred in D.C. were pedestrians. In contrast, 101 of the 493 traffic-related fatalities in Maryland were pedestrians. Meanwhile, Virginia tallied 73 of 740. While the total number of traffic-related pedestrian deaths is lower in the District than its neighboring states and even the states with the most pedestrian fatalities, including California, Florida and New York, its percentage of 54.2 is the highest in the United States. NHTSA also found that a majority of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting, at non-intersections, during the night. However, drivers may not always be to blame for being distracted. In this digital age, more and more pedestrians are crossing streets with smartphones in hand, headphones synced in and heads facing down, completely tuned out to the world. As these traffic statistics continue to stagger in, keep in mind that it is both the pedestrian’s and the driver’s responsibilities to be aware of their surroundings.