People flock to the Pacific Northwest for its amazing scenery and livability. The region lends itself to being outside even during rainy months and many people find walking and running to be fabulous ways to get around and stay healthy. Sadly, these activities which on paper are good for your health may simultaneously be dangerous for you it seems. More and more pedestrians are being killed in automobile accidents than in recent years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the State of Washington saw an increase in the percentage of pedestrians as overall traffic fatalities for three consecutive years. In 2015, people on foot accounted for 15.2% of all accident deaths. That increased first to 15.5% in 2016 and then to 18.4% in 2017. In 2018, another increase to 18.6% was recorded.
The picture in the greater Seattle area is even worse. Between 2014 and 2018, pedestrians represented 23.5% of all vehicular fatalities in King County. Snohomish County recorded the same rate of pedestrian fatalities. In Pierce County, people on foot accounted for one in five traffic deaths during those same five years.
The nation as a whole seems to be struggling with how to keep pedestrians safe. A recent report by The Verge indicated that in 2018, pedestrian deaths across the United States were higher than in any year since 1990. The increase in foot traffic deaths comes at a time when overall traffic deaths have been on the decline, making the situation for pedestrians even more serious. Nationally, pedestrians represented 16% of all vehicular fatalities in 2018.