Personal Injury Lawyers Bronx and Westchester County, New York

U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Remain High Despite 5% Drop in 2023

A pedestrian traffic light in New York City.

Although pedestrian accident fatalities decreased last year nationwide, they remain high compared to previous years, according to a recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

“We know how to improve safety for people walking—more infrastructure, vehicles designed to protect people walking, lower speeds, and equitable traffic enforcement,” Jonathan Adkins, the GHSA’s chief executive officer, said in a statement published by The Wall Street Journal. “It will take all this, and more, to keep the numbers going in the right direction.”

Pedestrian fatalities decline nationwide (but are still high)

In 2023, an estimated 7,318 pedestrians died in traffic accidents nationwide, according to GHSA statistics. In contrast, 7,737 pedestrians died in 2022, meaning there was a 5 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities in 2023.

However, pedestrian safety officials are quick to point out that last year’s pedestrian fatality toll was still significantly higher than many other recent years. Compared to 2019, when 6,412 pedestrian fatalities occurred nationwide, pedestrian deaths were still 14 percent higher compared to four years ago.

“As a nation, you know, in some ways, we failed,” Pam Shadel Fischer, the GHSA’s senior director of external engagement, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We failed all other modes, we focus so much on cars.”

New York pedestrian accident statistics

Like the rest of the nation, New York pedestrian accident fatalities decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, according to the GHSA study. Last year, 283 pedestrians died statewide in accidents throughout New York. In contrast, a record-high 329 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2022 in New York City. That’s a decrease of 16 percent compared to 2022.

The 2023 statewide pedestrian death toll was even lower than the total number of pedestrian fatalities in New York in 2019. That year, 286 people died in pedestrian accidents in New York State, according to GHSA data.

New York City pedestrian fatalities reach record low

How does New York City compare to the rest of the state and nationwide when it comes to pedestrian deaths? The good news is New York City set a record for the lowest pedestrian fatalities in a single year in 2023.

Overall, 101 pedestrians died in New York City last year, according to a Bloomberg News report citing data compiled by Vision Zero. Vision Zero is an organization committed to reducing pedestrian fatalities in New York City to zero. According to Bloomberg News, 2023 was the “safest year for pedestrians since record-keeping began 114 years ago.”

To put such numbers in perspective, Bloomberg News reported that New York City recorded 366 pedestrian accident fatalities in 1990.

What is NYC doing right to keep pedestrians safe?

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in an interview with Bloomberg News that he believes the reason pedestrian fatalities decreased in 2023 is due to “our work at NYCDOT and our partners on Vision Zero, and the support of Mayor Eric Adams on prioritizing engineering, education, and enforcement.”

According to Bloomberg News, specific examples of what NYC is doing to prevent pedestrian accidents include:

  • Installing turn bumps (raised yellow road strips) at intersections where pedestrian accidents have occurred at high rates. Turn bumps force drivers to wait to turn at an intersection rather than blocking pedestrian crosswalks.
  • Redesigning intersections where pedestrian accidents have occurred.
  • Installing speed bumps to slow down traffic in areas where pedestrians have been frequently hit by cars.
  • Installing curb extensions that narrow the roadway and force traffic to slow down.

What can pedestrians do to stay safe?

While New York City’s efforts to reduce pedestrian fatalities deserve recognition, people should still take steps to protect themselves when walking or crossing the street:

  • Always look both ways before entering a pedestrian crosswalk. Just because you have a “WALK” signal doesn’t mean every driver obeys the rules of the road.
  • If you see a vehicle approaching, make eye contact with the driver to ensure they see you if you’re crossing the street.
  • Even if you have the right of way, don’t try to cross the street if it’s clear that a driver does not intend to stop or slow down. It’s always better to play it safe.

Tips for drivers

If you drive in New York City, it’s your responsibility to follow the rules of the road and do your part to prevent pedestrian accidents. Such steps should include:

  • Always stop at pedestrian intersections if someone is walking across the street.
  • Slow down near intersections. If a pedestrian crosses the street, you will have time to slow down.
  • Share the road with pedestrians. They have just as many rights as drivers when using the road.

Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer at Giampa Law today

After you seek immediate medical attention, the best thing you can do is talk to a New York City pedestrian accident lawyer at Giampa Law. Our dedicated legal team has years of experience helping injured pedestrians hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

Don’t get pushed around by the insurance company when you've been injured. Get serious and get results with Giampa Law. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a New York City pedestrian accident attorney who will put your best interests first. We handle injury claims throughout New York on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay us if we obtain a financial settlement or verdict for you. It’s that simple.

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