Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have declined dramatically since 1975 but still account for 12 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 are important 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 changing materials.
Daniel, S., Jr. 1982. The role of the vehicle front end in pedestrian impact protection (SAE 820246). 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 4,378 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2008, down 42 percent from 1975. Since 1975 pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths to 12 percent in 2008. Pedestrian deaths declined by 7 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared to a decline of 10 percent for all other crash deaths.
Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2008
Twenty percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 59 percent between 1975 and 2008. The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 89 percent. Children this age had the third highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but in 2008 had the lowest. The death rate for pedestrians 70 and older has declined 76 percent since 1975. Despite the huge decline, pedestrians this age had the highest death rate every year since 1975.
Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2008
More details: population and number of pedestrian deaths
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2008 was 61 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 55 percent for people younger than 70 and 76 percent for those 70 and older.
Seventy percent of pedestrians killed in 2008 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.
Fifty-three percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9pm - 6am) crashes in 2008 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared to 25 percent during the day (6am - 9pm)
Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.
Thirty-five percent of pedestrian deaths among people 60 and older in 2008 occurred at intersections, compared with 20 percent for those younger than 60.
Seventy-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred on major roads, including interstates and freeways.
In urban areas, 54 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 24 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.
Twenty-six percent of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred in crashes between 6 pm and 9 pm and 22 percent occurred between 9 pm and midnight.
The largest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2008 occurred on Saturday (18 percent), followed by Friday (16 percent).
©1996-2015, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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