Here’s a depressing chart, ripped from StreetsBlog’s end-of-year post of 2016 high- and low-lights. It uses Federal transportation data to chart the increase in fatality rates for different modes of travel on US roads:
According to the Streetsblog post, the rise in fatalities, particularly for people walking or biking, is a worrisome counter-trend:
Bucking a long-term decline, traffic deaths are now on the rise in the United States. In 2015, the nation saw the biggest increase in traffic fatalities in 50 years, and the trend accelerated in the first six months of 2016. The increase is even more pronounced among pedestrians and cyclists.
Cheap gas and a growing economy have led to more driving mileage, and that surely explains part of the increase, but not all of it. Other factors have been debated, but there’s a growing consensus that in-car distractions like mobile devices and complex dashboard displays are also playing a role.
The trend of pedestrian crashes increasing in frequency and severity is alive and well locally. Most recently in Minneapolis, Barbara Mahigel was killed by a hit-and-run driver crossing Nicollet Avenue. In November, Ker Par was killed by a driver while crossing a street in Saint Paul. That same month, Mai Thi Dang was killed in Burnsville on McAndrews Road. These are just three of many similar Minnesota stories stories from the last year. What do we need to do to reverse this trend?