"Shocking" spike in pedestrian traffic deaths in 2020 in Michigan | Michigan Radio

"Shocking" spike in pedestrian traffic deaths in 2020 in Michigan

May 24, 2021

Pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes spiked by 20% in 2020 during the pandemic, according to GHSA.
Credit Pascal Meier / Unsplash

Pedestrian deaths from car crashes spiked nearly 20% in Michigan last year, according to preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The Association's Russ Martin said people drove much less in 2020 due to the pandemic. But the crisis seemed to worsen drivers' behavior, with more speeding and distracted driving.

"Whatever happened in the pandemic has caused an unexpected increase in the number of people killed," said Martin. "Not just pedestrians but all kinds of crashes. And so we in the safety community of course find this very shocking, but also very remarkable, and we need to figure out how can we address this in the future."

The spike in pedestrian deaths in Michigan roughly matched the spike that happened nationally, according to the Association's report.

Martin says first and foremost, states like Michigan need to crack down on speeding and other dangerous behaviors by drivers. And the state needs to look at infrastructure issues that are increasing the risk to pedestrians, such as local roads with few or no places for people to cross.