Recognizing Pedestrian Safety as a Public Health Concern

Recognizing Pedestrian Safety as a Public Health Concern

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a global event that takes place annually on the third Sunday in November. This year, on Nov. 19, Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets hosted a World Day of Remembrance event at Wakefield High School in Arlington. Fairfax County Health Department staff participated in the event to share new data on the state of pedestrian safety in the county. Northern Virginia Families for Safe Streets is a non-profit organization whose mission is to end pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries caused by motor vehicles.

The World Day of Remembrance event recognized the 18 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County since November 20, 2022 as well as unnamed pedestrians who were killed or seriously injured in the region. Seventeen of these 18 deaths occurred in Fairfax County. 

On average, there are 172 crashes involving pedestrians every year in Fairfax County and new data shows that Black and Hispanic people are both injured and killed at more than double the rate of white people.

“We have analyzed the past eight-and-a-half years of traffic crash data and see traffic safety, especially for pedestrians, as a health issue that requires a multidisciplinary, systems level response,” said Anna Ricklin, MHS, Health in All Policies Manager at the Fairfax County Health Department. A forthcoming pedestrian and bike safety report will take a deeper dive on the state of pedestrian and bicycle safety in Fairfax County as well as recommended actions to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Traffic safety is recognized as a public health concern in the U.S. and across the world. Healthy People 2030, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, set a target to reduce deaths from motor vehicle crashes by 10%.

In recognition of this solemn day, the Fairfax County Health Department developed a fact sheet, Pedestrian Safety Isn’t Just a Transportation Problem, to highlight factors related to pedestrian safety as a public health concern.

Source: Fairfax County Health Department