The Governor's Highway Safety Association recently reported on a sobering statistic involving pedestrian deaths. According to the study, there was a 10% increase in pedestrian fatalities nationwide in the first half of 2015. If the trend holds true for the remainder of the year, it would represent the largest increase in pedestrian deaths since 1975, the first year of the current federal system for record keeping. The researchers used state traffic fatality data, factoring in a significant increase in pedestrian fatalities that occurred during the summer months.
Washington's statistics are specially alarming. Pedestrian death increased from 32% and the first half of 2014 to 41% and the first half of last year, which is a 28% increase. this trend cuts across overall traffic deaths, which have been decreasing over the last 10 years.
Oregon has one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatality per 100,000 residents, and Astoria has experienced its own issues with pedestrian safety, employing a pedestrian flag program that was quickly abandoned.
City bus driver unions are also weighing in on a related problem, estimating that one pedestrian is killed every ten days by city bus due to blind spots and poorly designed buses. Union officials contend that wide "A" pillars and poorly placed rearview mirrors account for dangerous blind spots. Apparently, alternative designs employed in Europe provide greater visibility.