Arizona and Phoenix Pedestrian Fatalities

Recent studies present a highly disturbing set of facts regarding the amount and facts regarding the amount and frequency of pedestrian deaths in Phoenix and in Arizona.

A national report states that Arizona had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country. In 2017, 224 pedestrians died in Arizona, an increase from 197 in 2016.

Arizona was previously third in the nation with a pedestrian death rate of 1.4 per 100,000 people for the first six months of 2016. In the first six months of 2017 Arizona’s rate of pedestrian deaths increased to 1.61 per 100,000 people, making it number 1, when accidents are viewed in relation to the state’s population.

The increased rate of Arizona pedestrian deaths is almost twice the national average of .81 deaths per 100,000 people, and amounted to 113 people killed from January through June of 2017, and an increase of 101 during the same period in 2016.

In the first six months of 2017 Arizona was fifth in the number of pedestrian accidents, behind California, Florida, Texas and New York, which have higher populations. Arizona’s 113 deaths nearly equaled the recorded number of 115 in New York State.

Arizona Department of Transportation 2016 data further reveals that:

  •      121 killed and 923 injured while crossing the road.
  •      23 people were killed when walking with or against traffic, and 191 were injured. The study did not mention whether the pedestrians were walking on the road or sidewalk.
  •      37.5 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol, but 68 percent of non-fatal crashes showed no apparent influence of alcohol.
  •      The vast majority of fatal crashes happened at night – 154 compared to just 42 when it was light out.

In one week this March, 10 pedestrians were killed and two others were in critical condition. Some claim that Phoenix streets need to be designed in a safer way. There have been delays in implementing “Complete Streets” which is a national transportation policy that promotes street design that accommodates users including pedestrians, bicyclists, children, public transportation users and people with disabilities.

The guidelines require that streets be designed with slower speeds, adequate lighting, protected bicycle lanes on high speed roads and with better pedestrian safety features, as a pedestrian accident lawyer in Phoenix AZ can explain.

The guidelines are still subject to the City of Phoenix and City Council review and approval process.

Aside from street and lighting design issues, other likely causes of the high fatality rates include distracted driving, impaired driving, low gas prices and the number of people walking in Phoenix, and limited light rail availability in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Thank to our contributors from Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into pedestrian fatalities.