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Where did area’s most pedestrian fatalities occur last year?

Most of the year's deadly pedestrian crashes occurred on highways with speed limits at or above 35 mph. The median age of those killed in the region was 54 years old, and four out of five were men. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — Recently released crash data is highlighting the dangers of crossing D.C. area roads and revealing several particularly treacherous corridors.

At least 61 pedestrians were struck and killed by a vehicle in 2016, according to preliminary data from 10 of the capital region’s top police departments. Seven of those deaths occurred on U.S. Route 1 alone.

The number of pedestrians killed by vehicles across the region remains relatively unchanged from the number of preliminary deaths reported in 2015 by the same agencies.

Most of the year’s deadly pedestrian crashes occurred on highways with speed limits at or above 35 mph. No highway was more deadly than Route 1 where seven pedestrians were struck and killed between Lorton, Virginia, and southern Laurel, Maryland.

Last year, three people were killed along Route 1 in Fairfax County. As a part of its Street Smart traffic safety initiative, the Fairfax County Police Department identified several swaths of Route 1 between Sherwood Hall Lane and Sacramento Road as high risk areas where walkers are more frequently killed or seriously hurt in crashes.

Among those who died on Route 1 last year was Jonathan J. Swinton of Laurel, Maryland, who Maryland State Police said was walking in the roadway near the Intercounty Connector when he was struck by a northbound box truck. A few months earlier, a tourist was killed while crossing the southbound lanes near Locust Grove Drive.

There were no deaths on Route 1 in College Park, where the Maryland Highway Administration made a series of safety improvements in 2014 to curtail a rash of serious pedestrian crashes near the University of Maryland campus.

Prince George’s County police investigated a total of 16 deadly pedestrian collisions in 2016. Two of the deaths occurred on Central Avenue in Capitol Heights in the same location on separate occasions: 17-year-old Daiq’uan Fox and 25-year-old Jadene Brooking were struck by vehicles near the Addison Road Metro station. The Maryland State Highway Administration announced last month that they intend to install a new, “full-color” traffic signal at the intersection.

Yet another intersection in Prince George’s County played host to back-to-back fatal crashes last summer. Two men were struck and killed on Suitland Parkway at Naylor Road in July and August, according to United States Park Police.

The median age of those killed in the region last year was 54 years old, and four out of five were men.

The youngest pedestrian death occurred in Lansdowne, Virginia, in late August, when a Jeep hit a stroller on Riverside Parkway. The infant’s mother, also struck, was left with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The driver was charged with involuntary manslaughter. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office responded to four fatal pedestrian crashes last year.

About one month later, 90-year-old Gertrude Klackner was struck and killed while crossing Yoakum Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Klackner was the oldest pedestrian to die in 2016. Alexandria City Police also investigated four pedestrian deaths in 2016.

The Montgomery County Police Department report eight pedestrian fatalities, down from 12 in 2015. Maryland State Police investigated a 13th crash on Interstate 270 in Germantown that resulted in the death of Nicolas A. Rodriguez-Sibrian. A pedestrian was also killed in Germantown on I-270 in 2015.

Three people were killed on interstate highways in Fairfax County in 2016, according to Virginia State Police. Fairfax County police investigated 12 fatal pedestrian crashes last year, including the death of Matthew Calendine, 33, of Burke on Shiplett Boulevard in late spring.

In the District, pedestrian deaths fell by nearly half last year according to D.C. Police; 15 people were killed in 2015, compared with just eight last year. All of the deaths occurred on major arteries such as New York, Georgia, Wisconsin and New Hampshire avenues, and most occurred in Northwest D.C.

The District kicked off its ambitious Vision Zero campaign in 2015, which strives to end all pedestrian fatalities by the year 2024 through more effective education, enforcement and engineering. Some of the District’s latest proposals have been met with opposition.

The national numbers are grimmer. Using data from the first half of 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates an 11 percent increase for U.S. pedestrian fatalities in 2016 compared with 2015. The study suggests distracted driving and distracted walking are likely factors in the overall uptick in pedestrians being killed in crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes somewhere in the country.

The NHTSA defines a pedestrian crash as an incident involving any person on foot — walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down — who is struck by a motor vehicle. Bicycle accidents, or those involving trains, are not included.


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