Alcohol and speed were significant factors in traffic deaths nationwide

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released findings from its study of 2014 crash data and reported that 4,884 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways last year.

In total, 32,675 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014. Among those:
  • Alcohol-impaired driving was reported in 31% of the fatalities
  • Speed-related crashes caused 28% of the fatalities
  • Distracted driving was reported in 10% of the fatalities

In the District of Columbia, 12 pedestrians were killed in 2014. The DC Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) learned at its November meeting that the 2015 statistic will be higher. Of 26-28 traffic fatalities so far in 2015, 75% have been pedestrians.

In a news report by WTOP on the NHTSA, PAC Co-Chair Tony Goodman said clearer crosswalk signs and striping might help keep pedestrians safer. “That’s something that could really help pedestrians and, of course, also helps drivers to have more awareness and better visibility for the pedestrians, too,” he said.

Proposed legislation being considered by the DC Council in December would increase penalties for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and for distracted driving. None of the legislation being considered would lower speed limits or increase penalties for speeding.

For more coverage of the NHTSA findings, see reports by WAMU and The Washington Post.