Investment Supports Department’s New Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Deputy Administrator David Friedman joined Pennsylvania officials today to kick-off the City of Philadelphia’s new pedestrian safety education and enforcement strategy aimed at reducing deaths and injuries. Philadelphia’s initiative is supported by a $525,000 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant initiative to help address a three year trend of increased pedestrian fatalities. This effort supports U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx’s new Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative, which was unveiled last month.
“Our new investments in pedestrian safety help send the message that driving dangerously – whether by speeding or not yielding to pedestrians – is unacceptable, and our friends in Philadelphia’s law enforcement will back up that message when necessary,” said Secretary Foxx. “This is especially important because more Americans are walking and running to maintain their health or as an alternative to their regular commutes.”
Philadelphia will use the funds to address pedestrian safety in downtown areas by increasing police visibility and ticketing during high risk hours in 20 high-crash locations. The grant will also be used for marketing to reach pedestrians in these areas and to train officers on pedestrian safety. In Philadelphia, a total of 31 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2012, representing 29 percent of the city's total traffic fatalities. . Research shows such safety campaigns significantly increase safer behavior by drivers, such as yielding appropriately to pedestrians.
“Education and enforcement together can help reduce needless pedestrian injuries and deaths,” added NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. “Highway safety begins with personal responsibility on the part of both drivers and pedestrians to look out for one another—and that must be backed by education, tough law enforcement, and a commitment on the part of public officials across the country to investing in making communities safer for pedestrians.”
In 2012 alone, 4,743 pedestrians were killed in crashes. The majority of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas. In 2012, nearly three-quarters of all pedestrian fatalities, (73 percent) and more than two-thirds of all bicyclist fatalities (69 percent) occurred in urban areas. Studies of pedestrian fatalities at the local level have found that compared to rural areas, the rate of pedestrian crashes per number of residents is four times as high in large urban areas, and twice as high in small or midsize urban areas.
Secretary Foxx’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Initiative seeks to reduce the growing number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities through a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure safety, education, vehicle safety, and data collection. A priority of the initiative is to close gaps in pedestrian and bicycle networks where the risk of a crash is high. Secretary Foxx unveiled his strategy earlier this year.
In April, the Department announced that Pennsylvania, New York, and Kentucky would share approximately $1.6 million to implement specific education and enforcement initiatives in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Louisville as part of each community's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The three winners are among the cities with some of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities nationwide.