Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
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).
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
Nineteen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.
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
More details: population and number of pedestrian deaths
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.
Sixty-nine percent of pedestrians killed in 2006 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.
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).
Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.
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.
Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred on major roads, including interstates and freeways.
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.
Forty-six percent of fatal pedestrian motor vehicle collisions in 2006 occurred between 6 pm and midnight.
The greatest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2006 occurred on Saturday (17 percent) followed by Friday and Sunday (both 16 percent).
©1996-2015, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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