From January through June 2020, pedestrian fatalities spiked 20 percent, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report.
The increase is attributed to a rise in dangerous driving behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first six months of 2020, 2,957 pedestrians were killed, while vehicle miles traveled decreased 16.5 percent.
The majority of the pedestrians were killed on local roads, at night, and away from intersections. There has been a 16 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities in daylight over the past 10 years, but a 54 percent increase after dark.
Sport utility vehicles were involved in more fatal pedestrian crashes than other vehicles, increasing 69 percent.
Nearly half of the crashes resulted because the driver and/or pedestrian was impaired by alcohol.
According to the report, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color were struck at higher rates than other groups.
“Walking should not be a life and death undertaking, yet many factors have combined to put pedestrians at historical levels of risk,” Jonathan Adkins, GHSA executive director, said. “The traffic safety community should focus on a comprehensive approach that uses every tool available to save lives, including engineering, community outreach, emergency response, and equitable enforcement that prioritizes the prevention of driving behaviors – like speeding, distraction, and impairment – that pose the greatest threats to non-motorized road users.”