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Missouri Roads Deadly for Pedestrians

Missouri is in the top 20 when it comes to pedestrian deaths. (
Missouri is in the top 20 when it comes to pedestrian deaths. (
January 16, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On average, 13 people in the U.S. are killed every day from being hit by a vehicle, and older adults and people of color are most often the victims.

A new report, "Dangerous By Design," takes a look at pedestrian deaths by city and state. It found between 2005 and 2014, more than 4,600 people were struck and killed by cars while walking.

Emiko Atherton, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, part of Smart Growth America, says the way streets are designed is a factor in these fatal collisions.

Many of the deaths occur on streets with fast-moving cars and poor pedestrian infrastructure. She says lower-income communities tend to have more fatalities.

"People of color and older adults are disproportionately represented in pedestrian deaths,” she points out. “For instance, non-whites, including Hispanics, account for 34.9 percent of the national population, but 46.1 of pedestrian deaths."

Missouri is listed as the 19th deadliest state for pedestrians. The report says with the exception of Delaware, the most dangerous states for pedestrians are all in the South – and Florida has the most pedestrian deaths.

This is the fourth year for the report, but Atherton says it's the first in-depth look at who the victims are.

The U.S. surgeon general has urged Americans to get more physical activity, including encouraging people to walk to school, work and around their neighborhood.

Atherton says there are certain groups that are taking that advice to heart.

"And we also are starting to see a great increase in preferences, particularly between millennials, and a desire between adults over 65 and older, to walk more," she states.

Traffic crashes were the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. between 2011 and 2014. The report says Americans are 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO