Pedestrian fatalities caused by vehicular accidents are at an all-time high. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 6,516 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2020. Unfortunately, that number increased by more than 11 percent in 2021 to 7,485 – that’s roughly 20 deaths a day. In fact, pedestrian deaths have been rising annually since 2009, with the number of deaths up 62%.
Across the nation, we’re seeing the worst amount of pedestrian deaths in 40 years. Pedestrian deaths are rising at a faster rate than any other type of death. Speeding is the main factor in these pedestrian fatalities, making it essential to look at effective ways to ensure safer speeds on our roadways.
1. Prioritize Speed Enforcement
Studies show that vehicles traveling at high speeds result in more frequent and serious pedestrian accidents and casualties. While reducing speed limits in areas with both vehicle and pedestrian traffic is an obvious solution, these speed enforcement reductions must be visible for optimal impact.
Police officer presence may be the best way to ensure speed enforcement, but that is not always possible due to limits on time and officer availability. Alternatively, RADAR speed trailers and messaging trailers can provide a visible and effective speed enforcement presence to increase speed awareness and pedestrian safety.
Speed cameras are another proven speed enforcement tool for slowing motorists down. In areas where they are used, not only are speeds reduced, there are fewer accidents and a decrease in fatalities from crashes. Multiple studies have shown that when speed cameras are present, motorists reduce their speed by up to 15 percent.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that speed cameras in New York City school zones have “significantly improved safety, with speeding violations down an average of 72 percent during hours of operation and injuries down 14 percent.”
2. Advocate for Lower Speed Limits
While the visual presence of a camera can prompt motorists to slow down, lowering the current speed limit has proven to help reduce accidents and protect pedestrians and cyclists. The GHSA states that when Bostom lowered 30 mph zones to 25 mph, there was a reduction in the calculated mean speeds. Lowering a speed limit zone by five miles per hour has the potential to lower pedestrian fatalities by 80 to 96 percent and to lower pedestrian injuries by 56 to 88 percent.
Raise awareness of speed limits and speed limit zones with Kustom Signals RADAR speed trailers and messaging trailers are the perfect tools to ensure drivers are aware of speed limits and mindful of road safety.
3. Design Safer Intersections
The best way to prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities is to separate transportation pathways to slow down speeding drivers. Complete separation of foot and vehicle traffic is not always possible, so in these cases, slowing drivers down before an intersection can be an effective strategy. Roundabouts are an example of a traffic design approach that prevents drivers from speeding through intersections.
These circular-shaped intersections improve traffic and pedestrian safety by slowing down speeding drivers. A roundabout naturally forces a speed reduction as the motorists move counterclockwise around a center point. In addition to lowering the speed of vehicles, the benefits of roundabouts include:
- Pedestrians cross shorter distances and against only one direction of traffic at each crossing point.
- 50 percent fewer pedestrian-to-vehicle conflict points as compared to intersections with a stop sign or traffic light
- Drivers focus on crossing pedestrians before entering and maneuvering through the intersection
- An average reduction of crashes with injury or fatalities by 78 to 82 percent
4. Install RADAR Speed Displays
We know that when speeding, the driver has less time to react. The same can be said for the pedestrian faced with impact from an oncoming vehicle traveling at an increased speed. The average risk of a pedestrian fatality increases the faster the vehicle travels. At 58 miles per hour, there’s a 90 percent risk of pedestrian death, but at 23 miles per hour, the risk drops to 10 percent.
Reducing speed can save lives, and speed displays can be a key tool. RADAR speed displays alert motorists of their speed. This alert triggers a natural response in many drivers to slow down, which can help to protect pedestrians and others in the area. The PMD 18 (Pole Mounted RADAR Display) from Kustom Signals can play an important role in helping to:
- Identifying areas where excessive speed is an issue
- Showing your community that you’re taking proactive measures to increase safety
- Slowing drivers down to reduce injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes
The PMD 18 features 18-inch characters for easy visibility, high-vis amber LEDs, and a flashing character overspeed violator alert. It not only offers a display of oncoming driver speed but has optional traffic statistics to allow for data collection.
As pedestrian fatalities have continued to rise, the need for increased safety measures must be considered. Contact us today to learn more about how Kustom Signals can assist you in protecting your community with safer speeds.