Pedestrian Accidents: The Latest U.S. Facts and Statistics
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,376 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle related accidents in 2015. In 2017, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported close to 6,000 fatalities in pedestrian accidents. It also noted, although other traffic-related deaths dropped, pedestrian deaths rose by 27% from 2007 to 2016.
The Latest Pedestrian Accident Statistics
- In 2016, the rate of pedestrian fatalities was ≥ 2 in 100,000 in 15 states.
- The number of fatalities in 2016 (5,987) was similar to that in 2017 (5,984).
- In 23 states and Washington, D.C., pedestrian fatalities increased.
- Fatalities decreased in 20 states and remained the same in 7 states.
- Alcohol (driver and/or pedestrian) was a factor in 46% of crashes.
- Roughly 75% of pedestrian fatalities happen at night.
The following are based on the NHTSA’s last complete report in 2015.
- About 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic-related crashes.
- 72% of pedestrian accident deaths occurred at non-intersections.
- 74% of fatalities happened in the dark (23% occurred in daylight).
- Children 0-4 and 5-9 represented 21% of pedestrians killed.
- 19% of fatalities and 13 percent of those injured were 65 and older.
- The average age of pedestrians killed was 47.
- The average age of pedestrians injured was 38.
- More than two-thirds of pedestrians killed were male.
- People ages 15-19 and 20-24 represented the highest injury rates.
- Most pedestrians killed (90%) were involved in single-vehicle crashes.
- Fatal crashes more likely involved impacts by the front of a vehicle.
Most Common Pedestrian Accident Causes
- Distractions: Distracted driving involving smart phones, texting, using electronics, or talking to other vehicle occupants, in which the driver was not watching the road.
- Alcohol/substance abuse: A leading cause of traffic accidents, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major risk to pedestrians. Alcohol/drugs are a risk when walking too.
- Speed: Driving over the speed limit makes it hard for motorists to slow down for pedestrians; always drive slower when there are people around.
- Ignoring pedestrian’s right-of-way: Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing an intersection or approaching a crosswalk.
- Failure to use turn signals: Turning lights let pedestrians know your intentions; without them, they could be unaware they’re walking into danger.
The most common injuries associated with pedestrian accidents are among the most severe. Spinal cord and brain injuries can occur, which often lead to paralysis and other long-term complications, and death. Injuries to major internal organs can be fatal as well. Non-fatal injuries include bone fractures in the legs, pelvis, hips, arms, and ribs, as well as lacerations, abrasions, and contusions to the scalp, face, hands, and other parts of the body.
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