Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Pedestrians comprise the second largest category of motor vehicle crash deaths after vehicle occupants, accounting for 11 percent of fatalities. The rates of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people also are higher for older people.
Pedestrian deaths occur primarily in urban areas. Many pedestrians are killed on crosswalks, sidewalks, median strips, and traffic islands. Physical separations such as overpasses, underpasses, and barriers can reduce the problem. Increased illumination and improved signal timing at intersections also can be effective. Because traffic speeds affect the risk and severity of pedestrian crashes, reducing speeds can reduce pedestrian deaths.
Retting, R.A.; Ferguson, S.A.; and McCartt, A.T. 2003. A review of evidence-based traffic engineering measures to reduce pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes. American Journal of Public Health 93:1456-63.
Vehicle factors count, too, because the most serious injuries often result from pedestrians being thrown onto the hoods, windshields, or tops of vehicles. Serious head, pelvis, and leg injuries are common, and the severity of such injuries could be mitigated by improving vehicle designs and materials.
The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
A total of 4,881 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2005, up 4 percent from 2004. Since 1975 pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths to 11 percent in 2005.
Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2005
Nineteen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 53 percent between 1975 and 2005 (from 3.5 to 1.6 per 100,000). The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 85 percent. Children this age had the third highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but in 2005 had the lowest.
Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2005
More details: population and number of pedestrian deaths
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2005 was approximately twice as high for people 70 and older than for those younger than 70. Since 1975 the rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people has decreased 50 percent for people younger than 70 and 69 percent for those age 70 and older.
Seventy percent of pedestrians killed in 2005 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.
Fifty-three percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9pm–6am) motor vehicle crashes in 2005 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent.
Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.
Thirty-five percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2005 occurred at intersections, compared with 21 percent for those younger than 70.
Seventy-one percent of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred on major roads, including interstates and freeways.
In urban areas 56 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 22 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.
Forty-five percent of fatal pedestrian motor vehicle collisions in 2005 occurred between 6pm and midnight.
A greater proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2005 occurred on Friday and Saturday than on other days of the week.
©1996-2015, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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