Pedestrians | 2006

Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have declined dramatically since 1975 but still account for 11 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. 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. 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.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Trends

A total of 4,784 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2006, down 36 percent from 1975. Since 1975 pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths to 11 percent in 2006.

Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2006

Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2006
Year Pedestrian deaths Other deaths All motor vehicle deaths
Num % Num % Num
1975 7,516 17 37,009 83 44,525
1976 7,427 16 38,096 84 45,523
1977 7,732 16 40,146 84 47,878
1978 7,795 15 42,536 85 50,331
1979 8,096 16 42,997 84 51,093
1980 8,070 16 43,021 84 51,091
1981 7,837 16 41,464 84 49,301
1982 7,331 17 36,614 83 43,945
1983 6,826 16 35,763 84 42,589
1984 7,025 16 37,232 84 44,257
1985 6,808 16 37,017 84 43,825
1986 6,779 15 39,308 85 46,087
1987 6,745 15 39,645 85 46,390
1988 6,870 15 40,217 85 47,087
1989 6,556 14 39,026 86 45,582
1990 6,482 15 38,117 85 44,599
1991 5,801 14 35,707 86 41,508
1992 5,549 14 33,701 86 39,250
1993 5,649 14 34,501 86 40,150
1994 5,489 13 35,227 87 40,716
1995 5,584 13 36,233 87 41,817
1996 5,449 13 36,616 87 42,065
1997 5,321 13 36,692 87 42,013
1998 5,228 13 36,273 87 41,501
1999 4,939 12 36,778 88 41,717
2000 4,763 11 37,182 89 41,945
2001 4,901 12 37,295 88 42,196
2002 4,851 11 38,154 89 43,005
2003 4,774 11 38,110 89 42,884
2004 4,675 11 38,161 89 42,836
2005 4,892 11 38,618 89 43,510
2006 4,784 11 37,858 89 42,642

Nineteen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.

Pedestrian deaths by hit-and-run occurrence, 2006
Hit-and-run No hit-and-run Total*
Num % Num % Num
928 19 3,842 80 4,784
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Age and gender

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 54 percent between 1975 and 2006 (from 3.5 to 1.6 per 100,000). The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 86 percent. Children this age had the third highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but in 2006 had the lowest.

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2006

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2006
Year < 13 13-19 20-34 35-59 60-69 ≥ 70 Total*
1975 3.6 2.7 2.4 3.0 4.1 9.3 3.5
1976 3.4 2.9 2.4 2.9 4.1 8.6 3.4
1977 3.1 2.8 2.7 2.9 4.6 9.0 3.5
1978 3.2 2.9 2.9 3.0 4.2 7.6 3.5
1979 2.9 3.2 3.2 3.0 4.3 7.8 3.6
1980 2.7 3.2 3.3 3.0 4.0 8.0 3.6
1981 2.4 2.9 3.3 2.9 3.6 7.4 3.4
1982 2.2 2.9 3.2 2.8 3.3 6.3 3.2
1983 2.1 2.5 2.9 2.5 3.3 5.9 2.9
1984 2.1 2.3 2.9 2.6 3.3 6.2 3.0
1985 2.1 2.3 2.7 2.6 3.1 6.1 2.9
1986 2.0 2.3 2.8 2.5 2.7 5.9 2.8
1987 2.0 2.1 2.6 2.6 3.2 5.8 2.8
1988 2.0 1.9 2.7 2.5 3.1 6.3 2.8
1989 1.7 1.7 2.6 2.6 2.9 5.7 2.7
1990 1.6 1.7 2.5 2.5 3.0 5.6 2.6
1991 1.4 1.8 2.3 2.1 2.4 4.8 2.3
1992 1.3 1.6 2.1 2.2 2.5 4.5 2.2
1993 1.3 1.6 2.1 2.1 2.5 4.4 2.2
1994 1.3 1.4 2.0 2.1 2.3 4.4 2.1
1995 1.2 1.5 2.0 2.2 2.5 4.3 2.1
1996 1.1 1.4 2.0 2.2 2.5 4.0 2.1
1997 1.0 1.4 1.9 2.1 2.5 3.8 2.0
1998 0.9 1.3 1.8 2.1 2.3 3.9 1.9
1999 0.9 1.2 1.6 2.0 2.1 3.5 1.8
2000 0.8 1.2 1.5 1.9 1.9 3.2 1.7
2001 0.7 1.2 1.5 2.0 1.9 3.4 1.7
2002 0.6 1.2 1.5 1.9 2.2 3.2 1.7
2003 0.6 1.2 1.5 1.9 2.0 3.0 1.6
2004 0.6 1.0 1.5 1.9 1.9 2.9 1.6
2005 0.5 1.1 1.6 2.0 1.9 2.9 1.7
2006 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.9 1.9 2.6 1.6
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

More details: population and number of pedestrian deaths

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2006
Year <13 13-19 20-34 35-59 60-69 ≥70
Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate
1975 45,851,304 1,632 3.6 29,795,023 796 2.7 50,998,098 1,236 2.4 57,233,228 1,694 3.0 17,531,601 726 4.1 14,563,945 1,348 9.3
1976 45,000,704 1,522 3.4 29,909,414 855 2.9 52,745,005 1,292 2.4 57,600,060 1,651 2.9 17,819,861 735 4.1 14,960,120 1,291 8.6
1977 44,337,332 1,390 3.1 29,800,313 835 2.8 54,497,448 1,487 2.7 58,124,426 1,668 2.9 18,078,657 837 4.6 15,401,249 1,383 9.0
1978 43,907,467 1,419 3.2 29,543,252 868 2.9 55,909,063 1,604 2.9 59,035,863 1,779 3.0 18,312,359 777 4.2 15,876,541 1,214 7.6
1979 43,778,959 1,291 2.9 29,077,607 923 3.2 57,499,197 1,832 3.2 59,699,815 1,813 3.0 18,611,292 792 4.3 16,388,617 1,277 7.8
1980 43,914,342 1,183 2.7 28,486,487 906 3.2 58,814,391 1,919 3.3 60,159,384 1,792 3.0 18,952,138 750 4.0 16,897,977 1,344 8.0
1981 44,049,940 1,064 2.4 27,743,947 797 2.9 60,563,416 2,002 3.3 60,528,289 1,758 2.9 19,257,302 697 3.6 17,322,714 1,278 7.4
1982 44,131,596 986 2.2 27,160,586 793 2.9 61,099,524 1,925 3.2 61,918,207 1,715 2.8 19,570,695 653 3.3 17,783,888 1,124 6.3
1983 44,119,297 944 2.1 26,737,497 671 2.5 61,840,154 1,792 2.9 63,079,650 1,591 2.5 19,781,554 643 3.3 18,233,751 1,081 5.9
1984 43,978,044 935 2.1 26,435,885 615 2.3 62,491,255 1,829 2.9 64,239,802 1,686 2.6 20,016,859 665 3.3 18,662,938 1,164 6.2
1985 44,260,136 925 2.1 26,001,247 592 2.3 62,961,154 1,687 2.7 65,378,882 1,685 2.6 20,249,528 621 3.1 19,072,785 1,170 6.1
1986 44,755,454 913 2.0 25,592,481 584 2.3 63,115,889 1,751 2.8 66,802,926 1,702 2.5 20,402,611 552 2.7 19,463,480 1,157 5.9
1987 45,348,247 898 2.0 25,209,615 518 2.1 63,032,298 1,656 2.6 68,290,374 1,781 2.6 20,517,672 654 3.2 19,890,817 1,160 5.8
1988 45,942,966 905 2.0 25,004,445 487 1.9 62,784,739 1,703 2.7 69,852,055 1,773 2.5 20,612,351 632 3.1 20,302,280 1,271 6.3
1989 46,690,604 786 1.7 24,664,300 421 1.7 62,494,056 1,648 2.6 71,581,353 1,839 2.6 20,669,409 603 2.9 20,719,397 1,180 5.7
1990 47,472,527 768 1.6 24,404,795 423 1.7 62,282,683 1,584 2.5 73,444,237 1,804 2.5 20,695,871 631 3.0 21,164,283 1,195 5.6
1991 48,240,747 695 1.4 24,066,587 437 1.8 62,025,750 1,444 2.3 75,460,332 1,615 2.1 20,607,779 502 2.4 21,751,897 1,044 4.8
1992 48,903,668 635 1.3 24,163,175 376 1.6 61,427,100 1,278 2.1 77,802,376 1,704 2.2 20,412,163 505 2.5 22,321,217 997 4.5
1993 49,335,864 644 1.3 24,664,091 402 1.6 60,582,332 1,294 2.1 80,150,573 1,702 2.1 20,249,075 506 2.5 22,800,673 1,012 4.4
1994 49,692,462 659 1.3 25,219,838 355 1.4 59,629,351 1,190 2.0 82,498,005 1,756 2.1 20,043,520 463 2.3 23,243,845 1,021 4.4
1995 49,920,484 597 1.2 25,764,300 389 1.5 58,712,407 1,192 2.0 84,740,716 1,847 2.2 19,971,612 504 2.5 23,693,757 1,008 4.3
1996 50,085,188 570 1.1 26,357,198 362 1.4 57,753,910 1,132 2.0 87,078,329 1,879 2.2 19,897,624 498 2.5 24,056,323 951 4.0
1997 50,364,983 513 1.0 26,730,812 371 1.4 57,046,569 1,083 1.9 89,395,083 1,877 2.1 19,837,343 497 2.5 24,408,817 931 3.8
1998 50,527,476 464 0.9 27,174,728 351 1.3 56,421,053 999 1.8 91,476,094 1,945 2.1 19,855,101 455 2.3 24,793,551 965 3.9
1999 50,667,139 449 0.9 27,518,156 333 1.2 55,961,401 920 1.6 93,490,306 1,884 2.0 19,961,006 425 2.1 25,092,805 885 3.5
2000 52,219,423 403 0.8 28,326,412 337 1.2 58,971,709 890 1.5 96,740,434 1,883 1.9 20,374,305 396 1.9 25,559,879 807 3.2
2001 52,341,395 363 0.7 28,437,711 346 1.2 59,465,066 911 1.5 98,425,536 1,970 2.0 20,634,900 387 1.9 25,797,467 878 3.4
2002 52,332,306 317 0.6 28,644,313 353 1.2 60,046,068 901 1.5 99,833,172 1,929 1.9 21,080,035 461 2.2 26,005,326 845 3.2
2003 52,187,602 327 0.6 29,028,500 348 1.2 60,599,350 899 1.5 100,920,120 1,942 1.9 21,852,458 447 2.0 26,200,946 777 3.0
2004 52,151,406 293 0.6 29,400,392 305 1.0 61,003,240 945 1.5 102,216,958 1,907 1.9 22,545,890 421 1.9 26,337,518 763 2.9
2005 52,149,395 274 0.5 29,589,854 325 1.1 61,180,772 980 1.6 103,698,407 2,055 2.0 23,133,307 433 1.9 26,658,669 777 2.9
2006 52,306,908 265 0.5 29,772,198 317 1.1 61,527,219 966 1.6 105,169,569 2,010 1.9 23,737,792 462 1.9 26,884,798 702 2.6

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2006 was 77 percent higher for people 70 and older than for those younger than 70. Since 1975, the rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people has decreased 51 percent for people younger than 70 and 72 percent for those age 70 and older.

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2006
Year < 70 ≥ 70 Total*
Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate
1975 201,409,254 6,084 3.0 14,563,945 1,348 9.3 215,973,199 7,516 3.5
1976 203,075,044 6,055 3.0 14,960,120 1,291 8.6 218,035,164 7,427 3.4
1977 204,838,176 6,217 3.0 15,401,249 1,383 9.0 220,239,425 7,732 3.5
1978 206,708,004 6,447 3.1 15,876,541 1,214 7.6 222,584,545 7,795 3.5
1979 208,666,870 6,651 3.2 16,388,617 1,277 7.8 225,055,487 8,096 3.6
1980 210,326,742 6,550 3.1 16,897,977 1,344 8.0 227,224,719 8,070 3.6
1981 212,142,894 6,318 3.0 17,322,714 1,278 7.4 229,465,608 7,837 3.4
1982 213,880,608 6,072 2.8 17,783,888 1,124 6.3 231,664,496 7,331 3.2
1983 215,558,152 5,641 2.6 18,233,751 1,081 5.9 233,791,903 6,826 2.9
1984 217,161,845 5,730 2.6 18,662,938 1,164 6.2 235,824,783 7,025 3.0
1985 218,850,947 5,510 2.5 19,072,785 1,170 6.1 237,923,732 6,808 2.9
1986 220,669,361 5,502 2.5 19,463,480 1,157 5.9 240,132,841 6,779 2.8
1987 222,398,206 5,507 2.5 19,890,817 1,160 5.8 242,289,023 6,745 2.8
1988 224,196,556 5,500 2.5 20,302,280 1,271 6.3 244,498,836 6,870 2.8
1989 226,099,722 5,297 2.3 20,719,397 1,180 5.7 246,819,119 6,556 2.7
1990 228,300,113 5,210 2.3 21,164,283 1,195 5.6 249,464,396 6,482 2.6
1991 230,401,195 4,693 2.0 21,751,897 1,044 4.8 252,153,092 5,801 2.3
1992 232,708,482 4,498 1.9 22,321,217 997 4.5 255,029,699 5,549 2.2
1993 234,981,935 4,548 1.9 22,800,673 1,012 4.4 257,782,608 5,649 2.2
1994 237,083,176 4,423 1.9 23,243,845 1,021 4.4 260,327,021 5,489 2.1
1995 239,109,519 4,529 1.9 23,693,757 1,008 4.3 262,803,276 5,584 2.1
1996 241,172,249 4,441 1.8 24,056,323 951 4.0 265,228,572 5,449 2.1
1997 243,374,790 4,341 1.8 24,408,817 931 3.8 267,783,607 5,321 2.0
1998 245,454,452 4,214 1.7 24,793,551 965 3.9 270,248,003 5,228 1.9
1999 247,598,008 4,011 1.6 25,092,805 885 3.5 272,690,813 4,939 1.8
2000 256,632,283 3,909 1.5 25,559,879 807 3.2 282,192,162 4,763 1.7
2001 259,304,608 3,977 1.5 25,797,467 878 3.4 285,102,075 4,901 1.7
2002 261,935,894 3,961 1.5 26,005,326 845 3.2 287,941,220 4,851 1.7
2003 264,588,030 3,963 1.5 26,200,946 777 3.0 290,788,976 4,774 1.6
2004 267,317,886 3,871 1.4 26,337,518 763 2.9 293,655,404 4,675 1.6
2005 269,751,735 4,067 1.5 26,658,669 777 2.9 296,410,404 4,892 1.7
2006 272,513,686 4,020 1.5 26,884,798 702 2.6 299,398,484 4,784 1.6
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Sixty-nine percent of pedestrians killed in 2006 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by gender, 1975-2006
Year Male Female Total*
Num % Num % Num
1975 5,196 69 2,319 31 7,516
1976 5,120 69 2,307 31 7,427
1977 5,331 69 2,400 31 7,732
1978 5,494 70 2,296 29 7,795
1979 5,701 70 2,391 30 8,096
1980 5,613 70 2,454 30 8,070
1981 5,459 70 2,332 30 7,837
1982 5,144 70 2,185 30 7,331
1983 4,775 70 2,050 30 6,826
1984 5,016 71 2,005 29 7,025
1985 4,671 69 2,133 31 6,808
1986 4,771 70 2,004 30 6,779
1987 4,777 71 1,967 29 6,745
1988 4,756 69 2,111 31 6,870
1989 4,594 70 1,959 30 6,556
1990 4,495 69 1,985 31 6,482
1991 3,985 69 1,815 31 5,801
1992 3,867 70 1,679 30 5,549
1993 3,936 70 1,711 30 5,649
1994 3,757 68 1,732 32 5,489
1995 3,856 69 1,728 31 5,584
1996 3,780 69 1,667 31 5,449
1997 3,643 68 1,677 32 5,321
1998 3,558 68 1,670 32 5,228
1999 3,466 70 1,472 30 4,939
2000 3,251 68 1,512 32 4,763
2001 3,421 70 1,479 30 4,901
2002 3,298 68 1,552 32 4,851
2003 3,274 69 1,499 31 4,774
2004 3,237 69 1,435 31 4,675
2005 3,450 71 1,441 29 4,892
2006 3,309 69 1,444 30 4,784
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Alcohol

Fifty-four percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9pm - 6am) crashes in 2006 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared to 23 percent during the day (6am - 9pm).

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured pedestrians age 16 and older with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by time of day, 1982-2006
Year Nighttime (9pm-6am) Daytime (6am-9pm)
Pedestrians killed Estimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08 Pedestrians killed Estimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08
Num Num % Num Num %
1982 3,033 1,861 61 2,911 783 27
1983 2,612 1,684 64 2,940 787 27
1984 2,668 1,665 62 3,046 750 25
1985 2,467 1,528 62 3,040 717 24
1986 2,505 1,523 61 3,004 694 23
1987 2,521 1,446 57 3,035 710 23
1988 2,515 1,475 59 3,148 674 21
1989 2,422 1,445 60 3,095 725 23
1990 2,431 1,486 61 3,029 633 21
1991 2,201 1,295 59 2,646 584 22
1992 2,040 1,215 60 2,673 636 24
1993 2,031 1,212 60 2,681 630 23
1994 1,945 1,091 56 2,659 615 23
1995 2,041 1,150 56 2,716 633 23
1996 2,025 1,165 58 2,624 627 24
1997 1,882 1,041 55 2,714 581 21
1998 1,899 1,054 55 2,666 608 23
1999 1,871 1,071 57 2,423 566 23
2000 1,743 992 57 2,416 529 22
2001 1,856 980 53 2,482 566 23
2002 1,893 997 53 2,447 576 24
2003 1,843 1,000 54 2,428 545 22
2004 1,845 997 54 2,372 523 22
2005 1,968 1,056 54 2,462 492 20
2006 1,984 1,066 54 2,337 528 23

Where they died

Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by land use, 2006
Year Urban Rural Total*
Num % Num % Num
1975 4,401 59 3,115 41 7,516
1976 4,409 59 3,013 41 7,427
1977 4,997 65 2,711 35 7,732
1978 4,934 63 2,748 35 7,795
1979 5,309 66 2,688 33 8,096
1980 5,279 65 2,698 33 8,070
1981 5,066 65 2,614 33 7,837
1982 4,809 66 2,455 33 7,331
1983 4,477 66 2,341 34 6,826
1984 4,660 66 2,360 34 7,025
1985 4,586 67 2,215 33 6,808
1986 4,580 68 2,197 32 6,779
1987 4,631 69 2,105 31 6,745
1988 4,650 68 2,216 32 6,870
1989 4,620 70 1,931 29 6,556
1990 4,619 71 1,855 29 6,482
1991 4,053 70 1,738 30 5,801
1992 3,923 71 1,597 29 5,549
1993 3,949 70 1,663 29 5,649
1994 3,934 72 1,543 28 5,489
1995 3,914 70 1,644 29 5,584
1996 3,838 70 1,596 29 5,449
1997 3,699 70 1,611 30 5,321
1998 3,584 69 1,611 31 5,228
1999 3,400 69 1,519 31 4,939
2000 3,298 69 1,376 29 4,763
2001 3,437 70 1,452 30 4,901
2002 3,421 71 1,418 29 4,851
2003 3,479 73 1,283 27 4,774
2004 3,393 73 1,274 27 4,675
2005 3,618 74 1,245 25 4,892
2006 3,435 72 1,220 26 4,784
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Thirty-six percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2006 occurred at intersections, compared with 21 percent for those younger than 70.

Pedestrian deaths by junction type and age, 2006
Junction type < 13 13-19 20-34 35-59 60-69 ≥ 70 Total*
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num %
Non-intersection 204 77 252 79 808 84 1,580 79 313 68 451 64 3,663 77
Intersection 61 23 65 21 158 16 430 21 149 32 251 36 1,121 23
Total* 265 100 317 100 966 100 2,010 100 462 100 702 100 4,784 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred on major roads, including interstates and freeways.

Pedestrian deaths by road type, 2006
Road type Num %
Interstates and freeways 712 15
Other major roads 2,755 58
Minor roads 1,165 24
All road types* 4,784 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

In urban areas, 54 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 24 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.

Pedestrian deaths by speed limit and land use, 2006
Speed limit Urban Rural Total*
Num % Num % Num %
No limit 6 < 1 4 < 1 10 < 1
< 35 mph 766 22 111 9 886 19
35-40 mph 1,106 32 177 15 1,315 27
45-50 mph 712 21 219 18 963 20
55+ mph 614 18 650 53 1,288 27
Unknown 231 7 59 5 322 7
Total* 3,435 100 1,220 100 4,784 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

When they died

Forty-six percent of fatal pedestrian motor vehicle collisions in 2006 occurred between 6 pm and midnight.

Pedestrian deaths by time of day, 2006
Time of day Deaths %
Midnight-3am 614 13
3am-6am 453 9
6am-9am 453 9
9am-noon 254 5
Noon-3pm 293 6
3pm-6pm 478 10
6pm-9pm 1,183 25
9pm-midnight 1,023 21
Total* 4,784 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The greatest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred on Saturday (17 percent) followed by Friday and Sunday (both 16 percent).

Pedestrian deaths by day of week, 2006
Day of week Deaths %
Sunday 749 16
Monday 597 12
Tuesday 631 13
Wednesday 627 13
Thursday 611 13
Friday 747 16
Saturday 822 17
Total* 4,784 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

References