The number of U.S. pedestrians killed in motor-vehicle crashes increased 17 percent in the first half of 2021, according to a nonprofit safety group, which linked the increase to reckless drivers, poor infrastructure and fewer officers patrolling the roads. Drivers struck and killed 3,441 people, up from 2,934 in the same period in 2020, said the Governors Highway Safety Association, reports the Wall Street Journal. “The overall number, by far, is very shocking. That is a huge number,” said the group's Jonathan Adkins. All these families “have lost someone all because someone was literally taking a walk.” The increase is part of a rising trend in fatalities in recent years. Even in 2020, the number was high despite a sharp decline in driving at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 6,516 pedestrian deaths in 2020, up from 4,457 in 2011.
Car-crash deaths have also surged since the pandemic began. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that about 31,720 people died in car crashes between January and September last year. That would be the highest number of fatalities reported in the first nine months of any year since 2006. T
Adkins said part of the problem is that fewer police officers are patrolling the roads. With fewer law-enforcement officials on the streets, the rate of people driving dangerously increases. Better infrastructure including newer roads and highways would also prevent more pedestrian deaths, he added.