The government says it will take action to improve pedestrian safety in the wake a new report that said fatalities hit a five-year high in 2012.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday that it is awarding grants to three cities to increase public education aimed at improving pedestrian safety. Louisville, New York City and Philadelphia will receive a total of $1.6 million as part of the department's "Everyone is a Pedestrian" campaign to stymie the rise of pedestrian deaths.
"These are parents, these are children, these are our fathers and mothers and grandparents who are being affect by traffic crashes when they're in their most vulnerable state," said David Friedman, the acting head of the NHTSA. "They don't have two tons of metal, glass and plastic surrounding them."
There were 4,743 pedestrian deaths in the U.S., an increase of over 6 percent from the previous year, according to a new NHTSA report released on Friday. The number of pedestrian deaths increased every year since 2009.
California had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities with 612 deaths in 2012, followed by Texas (478) and Florida (476). Nearly three-quarters of pedestrian deaths took place in urban areas and 70 percent occurred at non-intersections. This means jaywalkers were at a higher risk of dying than those who cross at proper intersections.
In Dallas, there were 40 pedestrians killed in 2012, representing 29 percent of those killed in motor vehicle-related crashes; 20 were killed in Fort Worth, representing 34 percent of deaths.
The report also breaks down statistics by age, gender and time of day. Pedestrians ages 65 or older accounted for 20 percent of fatalities and about 9 percent of injuries. Nearly 70 percent of those killed were male and 32 percent of fatalities occur at night, according to the report, which includes data curated from the census bureau.
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Sources: Census Bureau, NHTSA