According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,378 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle collision nationwide, with another 69,000 pedestrians injured in 2008. This averages out to one motor vehicle collision-related pedestrian death every 2 hours, and a pedestrian injury every 8 minutes.1 Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passengers in a motor vehicle be killed in a motor vehicle collision on each trip.2
Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 18% of all pedestrian deaths and approximately 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2008. 1 One in five children between 5 and 9 years old killed in traffic collision was a pedestrian. 1 Alcohol-impairment, whether the driver or pedestrian, was reported in nearly half (48%) of traffic-related incidents resulting in pedestrian death. Of the pedestrians involved, 36% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the illegal limit of .08.1
Higher vehicle speeds increase the chances of a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle as well as injury severity.3 Most pedestrian and bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas, at non-intersection locations, and at night.1
How can pedestrians avoid being injured or killed by a motor vehicle?
- Pedestrians should be alert at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street. 1
- Pedestrians can increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing light reflective clothing. 1
- Pedestrians should cross a street at designated crosswalks whenever possible.
- Pedestrians should always walk on a sidewalk, if present. If no sidewalk is available, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming vehicle traffic. 1
- Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2008: Pedestrians. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2008 [cited 2010 May 19].
- Beck LF, Dellinger AM, O=Neil ME. Motor vehicle crash injury rates by mode of travel, United States: Using exposure-based methods to quantify differences. American Journal of Epidemiology 2007;166:212B218.
- Rosen E, Sander U. Pedestrian fatality risk as a function of car impact speed. Acc Anal Prev 2009;41:536-542.