Wednesday, February 22, 2023

PBS NewsHour reports 'Pedestrian deaths in U.S. reach highest level in 40 years,' a driving update

Last November, I posted U.S. traffic deaths reached nearly 43,000 in 2021, the most in 16 years, a driving update. Today, I'm sharing PBS NewsHour's report on a fast-growing segment of that grim statistic, Pedestrian deaths in U.S. reach highest level in 40 years.

Pedestrian deaths in the U.S. have reached their highest level in 40 years. Using funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is spearheading the allocation of $5 billion to state and local governments through a federal grant known as Safe Streets and Roads for All to try and prevent roadway deaths. Buttigieg joined Geoff Bennett to discuss the program.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated in a press release last year, "Behind each of these numbers is a life tragically lost, and a family left behind." PBS shared just a few of those stories. Imagine the rest of them. Here's to Pete Buttigieg leading the effort to decrease traffic deaths, although I think a lot of it is reckless behavior by people, especially drivers, not infrastructure. Cheddar disagrees, pointing to structural causes in The Real Reason Pedestrian Deaths Are Rising - Cheddar Explains.

6,283 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in the United States in 2018 - the highest number of fatalities since 1990. But what's causing this spike in pedestrian deaths, when driver deaths continue to decline? Cheddar explains the real reason why the numbers keep climbing.
Pedestrian deaths were increasing pre-pandemic, so while I think the pandemic and the responses to it drove a lot of Americans crazy, that isn't the reason for the long-term trend before 2020. Also, when Secretary Buttigieg talked about looking at car safety from the perspective of other people besides the occupants of cars, the features of SUVs Cheddar described are likely among them.

That's the general driving update for today. Follow over the jump for my personal driving report.

Pearl passed 58,000 miles yesterday, Tuesday, February 21, 2023, exactly 17 weeks (119 days) since her odometer rolled over 57,000 miles on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. That translates to 8.40 miles per day, 256.30 miles per standard month, and 3,067.23 miles per standard year. That's a lot less than the 13.16 miles per day, 401.32 miles per standard month, and 4,802.63 miles per standard year it took her to drive 1,000 miles in 76 days between passing 56,000 miles on August 10, 2022 and 57,000 miles on October 25, 2022. I credit that decrease to a three-week break from work during December and January and driving Snow Bear more because of winter weather. That should show up when I post Snow Bear's update this spring. However, it's still more than the 6.49 miles per day, 198.05 miles per standard month, and 2,204.81 miles per year I drove Pearl during the comparable period last year between October 21, 2021 and March 24, 2022. That's what happens when I resume teaching in person after running classes remotely from home.

For a final comparison, I'm computing the average miles driven between March 24, 2022 and February 21, 2023, 4,000 miles over 334 days. That's 11.98 miles per day, 365.27 miles per standard month, and 4,371.26 miles per standard year. I finally reached the 4,000+ miles per year I thought I'd be driving Pearl when I resumed teaching in person. It took nearly a year of teaching in person to reach it.

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