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Car crashes killed nearly 6,600 pedestrians in 2019, GHSA estimates

The U.S. pedestrian death crisis is getting worse.

The Governors Highway Safety Association projected in a new report released Thursday that 6,590 people died on or along U.S. roadways in 2019. 

That would be the highest yearly total since 1988, the same year George H.W. Bush beat Michael Dukakis to claim the presidency and “Young Guns” was in theaters.

It would also be about 307, or almost 5%, more than the 6,283 pedestrians who died in 2018. If the preliminary 2019 data holds, 57,897 pedestrians died from 2009 through 2019, a total approaching the number of names (more than 58,000) on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Pedestrian deaths represent an increasing percentage of total crash deaths, from 12% in 2009 to 17% in 2018, according to the association’s report.

“Each year, thousands of additional people are dying in pedestrian crashes compared to a decade ago,” report author Richard Retting said in a statement. “Following 30 years of declining pedestrian fatalities, there has been a complete reversal of progress. Pedestrians are at an inherent disadvantage in collisions, and we must continue to take a broad approach to pedestrian safety.” 

Death on footAmerica’s love of SUVs is killing pedestrians

The report, which is based on preliminary data from the 50 states and Washington, D.C., reinforces the findings of a 2018 Detroit Free Press/USA TODAY Network investigation, which found that a significant factor in the increasing number of deaths is the consumer shift from passenger cars to trucks and SUVs.

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