The site where a pedestrian was struck in front of...

The site where a pedestrian was struck in front of Farmingdale State College in September. Credit: Paul Mazza

Last year, 7,508 pedestrians were estimated to have been fatally struck by cars across the country, marking a 41-year high, with 298 of those victims killed in New York, according to a new report.

The national death toll points to an alarming 77% uptick in pedestrian fatalities since 2010, according to a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit that represents state highway safety offices.  

On Long Island, 63 people walking lost their lives last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research in Albany.

The numbers are staggering, traffic experts said.

“We're talking about 20 people on foot being killed every day in this country. It's just not acceptable. Nobody should die because they walked out the door that morning to go wherever they needed to go and they were struck by a driver,” said Pam Fischer, senior director of external engagement at the Governors Highway Safety Association.  

While pedestrian fatalities rose in 22 states last year, New York was among 26 states that saw a decrease.

New York last year had a 2% dip in pedestrian deaths from 2021, when 304 pedestrians were killed.  According to ITSMR preliminary data, there was about a 17%  drop in pedestrian fatalities on Long Island compared to 2021, when 76 people died.

Many pedestrian deaths nationally were found to have occurred at night and in areas that lack sidewalks. There are also more deadly crashes linked to light trucks, including SUVs, according to the report.

Non-freeway arterial roads are also the most dangerous for pedestrians.

These risk factors are consistent with concerns on Long Island. A survey recently released by the New York Coalition for Transportation Safety, which polled 121 people, found speeding cars, lack of sidewalks and a lack of bicycle lanes made them feel most unsafe.

Reckless behavior, such as speeding and impaired driving, which took off during the pandemic, is believed to continue to play a role in traffic deaths, according to the report. Speeding-related fatalities in 2021 increased by 7.9% from the previous year.

“People are still getting in their cars and really behaving badly in some cases, and driving at high rates of speed, impaired, distracted and so forth,” said Fischer.

Diana Alati, whose 13-year-old son, Andrew, was struck and killed by a car in 2019 as he biked across Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown, said the driver was speeding but was not charged. She feels there is not enough traffic enforcement or roadway safeguards in place.

“The numbers don’t lie. This shows it’s a growing problem and if we don’t address these fatalities it’s going to continue to rise,” Alati, of Bethpage, said.

Other pedestrians have been injured or killed along that strip since her son’s death, according to published reports.

A member of Families for Safe Streets, she has been pushing for reduced speed limits and a crossing guard at Hempstead Avenue and Emerson Avenue, where a man was fatally hit last year.

The report also highlights the dangers of walking while intoxicated, while emphasizing driver responsibility.

Fischer said many people walking may not have any other choice as they get off public transit to walk their last mile to get to work, school or home and stressed the need for more funding that focuses on a safe systems approach.

“They’re out there sharing the road with other vehicles and it’s incredibly dangerous. So we have got to make significant more investment in infrastructure,” Fischer said.

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Police ID victims in small plane crash ... What's next for Kamala Harris? . . . St. Rocco's preview . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Police ID victims in small plane crash ... What's next for Kamala Harris? . . . St. Rocco's preview . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.