A recent study by Smart Growth America found that from 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic related accidents while walking in their communities. That number is 16 times greater than the number of people that have died due to natural disasters over the same period. The study also found that in 2012, nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths were pedestrians, which is 6 percent higher than in 2011.
The numbers are even worse in Louisiana. According to a recent study by the Center for Planning Excellence and the Louisiana Public Health Institute, Louisiana has the fifth highest pedestrian death rate in the country. Between 2003 and 2012, there were 1,028 total pedestrian fatalities statewide, accounting for 12 percent of traffic-related deaths. In 2012 alone, 17 percent of traffic deaths involved pedestrians. Louisiana has a pedestrian death rate of 2.29 per 100,000 residents. The report also indicated that Louisiana is the third highest in child pedestrian deaths, with a fatality rate of 1.43 per 100,000 residents.
The New Orleans metropolitan area, which includes Metairie and Kenner led metro areas in pedestrian fatalities in Louisiana, including 270 deaths from 2003 to 2012, which was 18 percent of total traffic fatalities. Even in a city like New Orleans, where pedestrians are everywhere, there may be dangerous drivers who are speeding, are distracted, or are intoxicated.
The report indicates that state and city planners need to include more pedestrian and cycling safety measures in their city planning and traffic measures. Sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike paths are valuable tools to protect pedestrians. When walking on the streets, you should always be cautious. You should always presume that motorists do not see you and you should never assume that motorists will yield the right of way. As always, look both ways.
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