Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have declined dramatically since 1975 but still account for 15 percent of crash deaths. The rates of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people are highest for people ages 70 and older.
Pedestrian deaths occur primarily in urban areas. Engineering measures that separate vehicles and pedestrians such as sidewalks, refuge islands, overpasses and underpasses, and barriers can reduce the problem. Increased illumination, improved signal timing at intersections, and beacons that alert drivers to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present also can be effective. Because traffic speeds affect the risk and severity of pedestrian crashes, reducing speeds can lower pedestrian deaths.
Mead, J.; Zegeer, C.; and Bushell, M. 2014. Evaluation of pedestrian-related roadway measures: a summary of available research. Report no. DTFH61-11-H-00024. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration.
Vehicle factors also are important. Most serious injuries result from pedestrians hitting vehicle bumpers, hoods, or the windshield area. Serious head, pelvis and leg injuries are common, and the severity of such injuries may be mitigated through improved vehicle design.
Daniel, S., Jr. 2004. The role of the vehicle front end in pedestrian impact protection. Pedestrian Safety (PT-112), 99-112. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers.
In addition, some vehicles are equipped with crash avoidance technologies that detect pedestrians and may automatically brake the vehicle prior to impact. Although these technologies have the potential to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries to pedestrians, their effectiveness in real-world crashes is unknown.
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Posted November 2016.
A total of 5,376 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2015. Although pedestrian fatalities in 2015 were 28 percent lower than in 1975, they increased 9 percent from 2014 and were at their highest level since 1996. Pedestrian deaths have increased 31 percent since reaching their lowest point in 2009.
Twenty percent of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 51 percent from 1975 to 2015. The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 89 percent. Children this age had the second-highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but the lowest in 2015. The death rate for pedestrians 70 and older has declined 76 percent since 1975. Despite the large decline, pedestrians this age had the highest death rate every year since 1975.
Seventy percent of pedestrians killed in 2015 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.
Forty-six percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) crashes in 2015 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared with 61 percent in 1982. The rate of high BACs among pedestrians 16 and older killed in daytime (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) crashes in 2015 was 25 percent, compared with 27 percent in 1982.
Seventy-six percent of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.
Forty percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2015 occurred at intersections, compared with 24 percent for those younger than 70.
Fifty-four percent of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways.
In urban areas, 52 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas, 20 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.
Twenty-six percent of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred in crashes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and 23 percent occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.
The largest proportions of pedestrian deaths in 2015 occurred on Friday and Saturday (16 percent each).
Pedestrian deaths in 2015 were most frequent in October, November, and December (11 percent each).
©1996-2016, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
Subscribe to news updates
Watch our channel
Mobile ratings & news