According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nationwide a pedestrian is struck and injured by a motor vehicle every 8 minutes and killed every two hours. In 2012, more than 800 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in D.C., and 8 pedestrians died as a result of their injuries. Fortunately, the number of pedestrian fatalities has declined slightly in recent years, but according to 2011 data from NHTSA, D.C.'s rate of pedestrian fatalities is above the national average.
And most importantly, behind these statistics are real people whose lives ended prematurely and needlessly. DCist recently reported on two young mothers in D.C. who lost their lives after being hit by motor vehicles, sadly leaving behind children who will grow up without their mothers. In late July, 30-year-old Georgette Jones was struck and killed by a Chevy Tahoe in the 500 block of Eastern Avenue NE. Laura Nicole Rinaldi was struck by a dump truck at the intersection of 4th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW and succumbed to her injuries on July 28, at the age of just 38.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced two new tools to help communities reduce the rising number of pedestrian deaths across the U.S. over the last two years. DOT unveiled a new Everyone is a Pedestrian website with information about improving pedestrian safety. The agency also announced the availability of $2 million in pedestrian safety grants to be used for education and enforcement, and 22 cities with the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities are eligible to apply. D.C. is among these cities, and I certainly hope D.C. will apply for this funding.
In a WAMU online poll that appears with an article about the announcement, about 60 percent of respondents report that they do not feel safe as pedestrians in D.C.
Written by Jason Broehm