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Pedestrian traffic deaths on the decline, study says

A new report shows there were 190 fewer pedestrian traffic deaths in the first half of 2013 than the same period in 2012. (Source: MGN Online) A new report shows there were 190 fewer pedestrian traffic deaths in the first half of 2013 than the same period in 2012. (Source: MGN Online)

(RNN) – Pedestrian traffic deaths are on the decline for the first time since 2009, according to a new report.

The report, released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, shows pedestrian deaths fell 8.7 percent over the first half of 2013 when compared to the same period a year earlier, a total of 190 fewer fatalities.

The report collected and analyzed traffic crash information from all 50 states and Washington DC from the first six months of 2012 and 2013, and says it's unclear why the death rate dropped.

Pedestrian deaths reached an all-time low in 2009, but shot up 15 percent from 2010 to 2012, possibly due to more people walking more to cut costs in a fragile economy and for health reasons.

California (535), Texas (468) and Florida (413) accounted for a third of deaths over the course of the study.

Largely rural states like South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming, all recording three deaths each, accounted for the lowest number of pedestrian deaths.

"The odds of a pedestrian surviving a crash with a car traveling 20 mph or slower are good; at higher speeds, the impact can be fatal," said Dr. Alan Williams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Alcohol is often a factor in pedestrian crashes. In 2012, 51 percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. had blood alcohol levels of .08 percent or higher, the report states. 

The report did not touch on the impact of texting by either pedestrians or drivers.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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