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Study: Fatal pedestrian accidents on the rise

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Posted at 12:09 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 12:34:26-04

Thousands of car accidents involving pedestrians occur every year, and they are growing more common.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2013. That same year, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, NHTSA said.

But last year, pedestrian deaths were up an estimated 10 percent, according to a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

RELATED: Pedestrian deaths surged in 2015

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The data analyzed were from the first half of 2015. If the trend holds true for the full year, it would be the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian deaths since 1975, the report found.  

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There were 2,368 pedestrians killed in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2,232 during the same period in 2014 — a six percent increase. Researchers arrived at a 10 percent increase for the entire year by considering that fatalities for the first half of the year are typically underreported, and that more pedestrian deaths happen in the second half of the year, which includes summer.

The State Highway Administration manages the Maryland Safe Routes to School program, which is federally funded. Grants are awarded each year to local governments and nonprofits based on need and problem identification.

Around $16 million in grants has been awarded to 20 jurisdictions around Maryland, according to the SHA. Qualifying projects can include infrastructure projects such as sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, pedestrian signals and bike racks.

Baltimore County also has a Traffic Calming program to help residents concerned about road safety. Options could include traffic circles, speed humps, pedestrian refuge islands or curb extensions. To learn more or apply, click here.