The Most Dangerous States for Pedestrians

5. Hawaii
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people:
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 26
> Total traffic fatalities: 113
> Pct. of people who walk to work: 4.75% (6th highest)

Unlike other states on this list, only 84.7% of Hawaiians drive to work, the fourth-lowest proportion nationwide. Instead, Hawaii has the sixth-highest percentages of people choosing to walk and choosing to use public transportation to get to work. Generally, fewer drivers mean safer roads, as evidenced by Hawaii’s 11th-lowest number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 people in 2010. The exception to this was pedestrians, who accounted for 23% of all traffic deaths that year, the third-highest percentage nationwide. One the worst states for pedestrian safety, Governor Neil Abercrombie has made August 2012 Hawaii’s “Pedestrian Safety Month.”

4. South Carolina
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 1.94
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 90
> Total traffic fatalities: 810
> Pct. of people who walk to work: 1.97% (12th lowest)

South Carolina was one of the five worst states for pedestrian safety each year from 2008 to 2010. The state is not very walking-friendly, as the average Walk Score for cities in South Carolina is just 35.28, the eighth-lowest score in the country. Counting pedestrian deaths, South Carolina had 17.47 total traffic fatalities per 100,000 people, the eighth-highest rate nationwide, and 810 traffic deaths in total. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 11.1% of this total in 2010, an increase from 10% of all traffic deaths in 2009.

3. Arizona
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.28
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 146
> Total traffic fatalities: 762
> Pct. of people who walk to work: 2.12% (14th lowest)

Pedestrian traffic fatalities are a growing problem in Arizona. Between 2008 and 2010, the rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people rose from eighth highest to third highest among all states. Arizona is hardly pedestrian-friendly; the state’s cities received an average Walk Score of 28.57 out of 100, the worst score in the U.S. and the only state with an average score below 30. With a Walk Score of 6.2, Rio Rico was the least-walkable city in the U.S., tying with only Badger, Ark. The state has tried in the past to address pedestrian safety — in 2009 Arizona completed its Pedestrian Safety Action Plan report, designed to identify methods to curb pedestrian injuries and deaths.

2. Delaware
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.45
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 22
> Total traffic fatalities: 101
> Pct. of people who walk to work: 2.32% (19th lowest)

From 2008 to 2009, pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people fell by nearly 30%, moving from second-most dangerous to ninth in one year. However, Delaware was once again the second-most dangerous state for walkers in 2010, with deaths per 100,000 increasing 45% from the year before. Off all traffic fatalities, 21.8% were pedestrians, the fifth-highest proportion in the country. Surprisingly, Delaware had pretty strong Walk Scores — the five cities in Delaware measured had a walk score of 47.22, beating the U.S. average of 43.3. Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington, has a score of 66.8.

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1. Florida
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people: 2.58
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 487
> Total traffic fatalities: 2,445
> Pct. of people who walk to work: 1.73% (4th lowest)

Florida’s 2.58 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 people makes it the most dangerous state for pedestrians — a title it also held in 2008 and 2009. With 487 pedestrian traffic deaths in 2010, more than one-tenth of all such fatalities in the United States occurred in Florida. Nearly 20% of all traffic fatalities were pedestrian fatalities, the seventh-highest proportion of all states measured. The average Walk Score for 202 cities in Florida that were measured was 37.7, well below the national average of 43.3. Jacksonville, the state’s largest city, had a score of 32.6, but the score was 72.5 in Miami, the second largest city. The other three cities in the top five had scores above the national average as well: Tampa scored 51.1, St. Petersburg 44.5 and Orlando 47.1 Despite being the most dangerous state for pedestrians, Florida is one of only 15 states not to ban texting while driving.

Michael B. Sauter, Alexander E. M. Hess, and Samuel Weigley

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