Pedestrian-related accidents in Washington have increased this year, bucking a longtime downward trend, city officials announced yesterday as they outlined a public education effort aimed at drivers and pedestrians. The District had 16 pedestrian fatalities this year, up from an average of 12 annually during the past three years, reports the Washington Post. The city is airing radio commercials that emphasize pedestrian safety and is participating with Maryland and Virginia in a regional “Street Smart” education initiative.
About 3,000 pedestrians a year are hit by cars in the region, and pedestrian fatalities account for 22 percent of total traffic deaths in the District, Virginia and Maryland, according to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. One official said the increased accidents might simply be the result of mathematics: more vehicles plus more pedestrians equal more accidents. The District also swells daily with 150,000 commuters and thousands of tourists. A report this year on pedestrian injuries found that most accidents happened during weekday commuting hours, with the peak on Fridays.