Pedestrian deaths spike right after sunset

As pedestrian deaths continue to rise, it has become clear that most of these deaths happen at night. But a new study finds that the half hour after sunset is the most dangerous in the United States. This worrisome trend is exacerbated by the high-speed, multilane roads that predominate in the U.S. The solutions, in addition to improved visibility, are the same at night as they are during the day: policy, design, and behavior changes that encourage safer, slower driving.

A recent New York Times article analyzed the stark contrast in pedestrian deaths during the day and night in the United States. In comparison with other countries, the U.S. has seen a significant increase in pedestrian deaths since 2009, around 7,300 per year. Three out of four pedestrian deaths occurred at night in 2021. The authors share factors that may be connected to these trends, including car culture, bigger vehicles, cell phone use, and where people live. It points specifically to suburban growth in areas of the country without walking and biking infrastructure.

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