Report shows decrease in W.Va. pedestrian-related fatalities

 CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Pedestrian fatalities have dropped in West Virginia from 2012 to last year, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday.West Virginia ranked 35th among the nation in pedestrian fatalities from January 2013 to June 2013, according to a report from the National Governors Highway Safety Association.From January to June last year, there were nine pedestrian deaths in West Virginia, according to the report. During the same time period in 2012, there were 16 deaths.The decrease is consistent with national numbers, which show that pedestrian fatalities dropped for the first since 2009, according to the report.Pedestrian fatalities nationwide decreased from 2006 to 2009, but increased by 15 percent from 2010 to 2012. Possible reasons for that include more people walking instead of driving, according to the report.More information would be needed to explain the decrease in pedestrian fatalities last year, according to the report.The report concluded that pedestrian deaths are largely an urban phenomenon, frequently occurring at night and often involving alcohol consumption by pedestrians. Charleston Police Lt. Shawn Williams, commander of the Community Services Division, said pedestrian-related accidents in the city remain pretty consistent from year to year."When we have special events you see a lot of people walking on the streets and people not paying attention to cross walks," Williams said.He said he hasn't seen any significant change in pedestrian-related fatalities over the years.In the past 10 years, vehicles killed 237 pedestrians on West Virginia roads and streets, according to a 2011 report released by Transportation for America. About 40 percent of those occurred on roadways where no crosswalks were available. Charleston ranked the state's most dangerous cities for pedestrians with 56 deaths from 2000 to 2009, according to the report.
Reach Travis Crum at or 304-348-5163.   
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