Pedestrians | 2009

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 lower 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 also are important. Most serious injuries result from pedestrians impacting 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, crash avoidance technologies, such as those that automatically brake the vehicle prior to impact, are being developed. 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).

Trends

A total of 4,092 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2009, down 46 percent from 1975. Since 1975 pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths to 12 percent in 2009. Pedestrian deaths declined by 7 percent from 2008 to 2009, compared to a decline of 10 percent for all other crash deaths.

Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2009

Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2009
YearPedestrian deathsOther deathsAll motor vehicle deaths
Num%Num%Num
19757,5161737,0098344,525
19767,4271638,0968445,523
19777,7321640,1468447,878
19787,7951542,5368550,331
19798,0961642,9978451,093
19808,0701643,0218451,091
19817,8371641,4648449,301
19827,3311736,6148343,945
19836,8261635,7638442,589
19847,0251637,2328444,257
19856,8081637,0178443,825
19866,7791539,3088546,087
19876,7451539,6458546,390
19886,8701540,2178547,087
19896,5561439,0268645,582
19906,4821538,1178544,599
19915,8011435,7078641,508
19925,5491433,7018639,250
19935,6491434,5018640,150
19945,4891335,2278740,716
19955,5841336,2338741,817
19965,4491336,6168742,065
19975,3211336,6928742,013
19985,2281336,2738741,501
19994,9391236,7788841,717
20004,7631137,1828941,945
20014,9011237,2958842,196
20024,8511138,1548943,005
20034,7741138,1108942,884
20044,6751138,1618942,836
20054,8921138,6188943,510
20064,7951137,9138942,708
20074,6991136,5608941,259
20084,4141233,0098837,423
20094,0921229,7168833,808

Seventeen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.

Pedestrian deaths by hit-and-run occurrence, 2009
Hit-and-runNo hit-and-runTotal*
Num%Num%Num
699173,391834,092
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Age and gender

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 62 percent between 1975 and 2009. The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 90 percent. Children this age had the third highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but in 2009 had the lowest. The death rate for pedestrians 70 and older has declined 77 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, 1975-2009

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2009
Year< 1313-1920-3435-5960-69≥ 70Total*
19753.62.72.43.04.19.33.5
19763.42.92.42.94.18.63.4
19773.12.82.72.94.69.03.5
19783.22.92.93.04.27.63.5
19792.93.23.23.04.37.83.6
19802.73.23.33.04.08.03.6
19812.42.93.32.93.67.43.4
19822.22.93.22.83.36.33.2
19832.12.52.92.53.35.92.9
19842.12.32.92.63.36.23.0
19852.12.32.72.63.16.12.9
19862.02.32.82.52.75.92.8
19872.02.12.62.63.25.82.8
19882.01.92.72.53.16.32.8
19891.71.72.62.62.95.72.7
19901.61.72.52.53.05.62.6
19911.41.82.32.12.44.82.3
19921.31.62.12.22.54.52.2
19931.31.62.12.12.54.42.2
19941.31.42.02.12.34.42.1
19951.21.52.02.22.54.32.1
19961.11.42.02.22.54.02.1
19971.01.41.92.12.53.82.0
19980.91.31.82.12.33.91.9
19990.91.21.62.02.13.51.8
20000.81.21.51.91.93.21.7
20010.71.21.52.01.93.41.7
20020.61.21.51.92.23.21.7
20030.61.21.51.92.03.01.6
20040.61.01.51.91.92.91.6
20050.51.11.62.01.92.91.7
20060.51.11.61.92.02.61.6
20070.51.21.61.91.52.71.6
20080.41.11.51.81.62.21.5
20090.40.91.41.71.62.11.3
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 was 62 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 57 percent for people younger than 70 and 77 percent for those 70 and older.

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2009
Year< 1313-1920-3435-5960-69≥ 70
PopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRatePopulationNumRate
197545,851,3041,6323.629,795,0237962.750,998,0981,2362.457,233,2281,6943.017,531,6017264.114,563,9451,3489.3
197645,000,7041,5223.429,909,4148552.952,745,0051,2922.457,600,0601,6512.917,819,8617354.114,960,1201,2918.6
197744,337,3321,3903.129,800,3138352.854,497,4481,4872.758,124,4261,6682.918,078,6578374.615,401,2491,3839.0
197843,907,4671,4193.229,543,2528682.955,909,0631,6042.959,035,8631,7793.018,312,3597774.215,876,5411,2147.6
197943,778,9591,2912.929,077,6079233.257,499,1971,8323.259,699,8151,8133.018,611,2927924.316,388,6171,2777.8
198043,914,3421,1832.728,486,4879063.258,814,3911,9193.360,159,3841,7923.018,952,1387504.016,897,9771,3448.0
198144,049,9401,0642.427,743,9477972.960,563,4162,0023.360,528,2891,7582.919,257,3026973.617,322,7141,2787.4
198244,131,5969862.227,160,5867932.961,099,5241,9253.261,918,2071,7152.819,570,6956533.317,783,8881,1246.3
198344,119,2979442.126,737,4976712.561,840,1541,7922.963,079,6501,5912.519,781,5546433.318,233,7511,0815.9
198443,978,0449352.126,435,8856152.362,491,2551,8292.964,239,8021,6862.620,016,8596653.318,662,9381,1646.2
198544,260,1369252.126,001,2475922.362,961,1541,6872.765,378,8821,6852.620,249,5286213.119,072,7851,1706.1
198644,755,4549132.025,592,4815842.363,115,8891,7512.866,802,9261,7022.520,402,6115522.719,463,4801,1575.9
198745,348,2478982.025,209,6155182.163,032,2981,6562.668,290,3741,7812.620,517,6726543.219,890,8171,1605.8
198845,942,9669052.025,004,4454871.962,784,7391,7032.769,852,0551,7732.520,612,3516323.120,302,2801,2716.3
198946,690,6047861.724,664,3004211.762,494,0561,6482.671,581,3531,8392.620,669,4096032.920,719,3971,1805.7
199047,472,5277681.624,404,7954231.762,282,6831,5842.573,444,2371,8042.520,695,8716313.021,164,2831,1955.6
199148,240,7476951.424,066,5874371.862,025,7501,4442.375,460,3321,6152.120,607,7795022.421,751,8971,0444.8
199248,903,6686351.324,163,1753761.661,427,1001,2782.177,802,3761,7042.220,412,1635052.522,321,2179974.5
199349,335,8646441.324,664,0914021.660,582,3321,2942.180,150,5731,7022.120,249,0755062.522,800,6731,0124.4
199449,692,4626591.325,219,8383551.459,629,3511,1902.082,498,0051,7562.120,043,5204632.323,243,8451,0214.4
199549,920,4845971.225,764,3003891.558,712,4071,1922.084,740,7161,8472.219,971,6125042.523,693,7571,0084.3
199650,085,1885701.126,357,1983621.457,753,9101,1322.087,078,3291,8792.219,897,6244982.524,056,3239514.0
199750,364,9835131.026,730,8123711.457,046,5691,0831.989,395,0831,8772.119,837,3434972.524,408,8179313.8
199850,527,4764640.927,174,7283511.356,421,0539991.891,476,0941,9452.119,855,1014552.324,793,5519653.9
199950,667,1394490.927,518,1563331.255,961,4019201.693,490,3061,8842.019,961,0064252.125,092,8058853.5
200052,219,4234030.828,326,4123371.258,971,7098901.596,740,4341,8831.920,374,3053961.925,559,8798073.2
200152,341,3953630.728,437,7113461.259,465,0669111.598,425,5361,9702.020,634,9003871.925,797,4678783.4
200252,332,3063170.628,644,3133531.260,046,0689011.599,833,1721,9291.921,080,0354612.226,005,3268453.2
200352,187,6023270.629,028,5003481.260,599,3508991.5100,920,1201,9421.921,852,4584472.026,200,9467773.0
200452,151,4062930.629,400,3923051.061,003,2409451.5102,216,9581,9071.922,545,8904211.926,337,5187632.9
200552,149,3952740.529,589,8543251.161,180,7729801.6103,698,4072,0552.023,133,3074331.926,658,6697772.9
200652,306,9082670.529,772,1983141.161,527,2199731.6105,169,5692,0251.923,737,7924672.026,884,7987072.6
200752,585,8092430.529,775,9433431.261,623,3229701.6105,272,3082,0011.925,228,2583741.527,135,5177262.7
200852,929,7792150.429,710,3073201.161,990,5469301.5105,456,6401,8951.826,451,4184211.627,521,0346032.2
200953,753,4121980.429,667,2792560.963,105,8818651.4105,097,4651,7391.727,596,2434351.627,786,2705772.1

Sixty-nine percent of pedestrians killed in 2009 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by gender, 1975-2009
YearMaleFemaleTotal*
Num%Num%Num
19755,196692,319317,516
19765,120692,307317,427
19775,331692,400317,732
19785,494702,296297,795
19795,701702,391308,096
19805,613702,454308,070
19815,459702,332307,837
19825,144702,185307,331
19834,775702,050306,826
19845,016712,005297,025
19854,671692,133316,808
19864,771702,004306,779
19874,777711,967296,745
19884,756692,111316,870
19894,594701,959306,556
19904,495691,985316,482
19913,985691,815315,801
19923,867701,679305,549
19933,936701,711305,649
19943,757681,732325,489
19953,856691,728315,584
19963,780691,667315,449
19973,643681,677325,321
19983,558681,670325,228
19993,466701,472304,939
20003,251681,512324,763
20013,421701,479304,901
20023,298681,552324,851
20033,274691,499314,774
20043,237691,435314,675
20053,450711,441294,892
20063,332691,459304,795
20073,288701,411304,699
20083,078701,331304,414
20092,814691,277314,092
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Alcohol

Fifty-three percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9pm-6am) crashes in 2009 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared to 61 percent in 1982. The rate of high BACs among pedestrians 16 and older killed in daytime (6am-9pm) crashes in 2009 was 23 percent, compared to 27 percent in 1982.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured pedestrians age 16 and older with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by time of day, 1982-2009
YearNighttime (9pm-6am)Daytime (6am-9pm)
Pedestrians killedEstimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08Pedestrians killedEstimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumNum%NumNum%
19823,0331,861612,91178327
19832,6121,684642,94078727
19842,6681,665623,04675025
19852,4671,528623,04071724
19862,5051,523613,00469423
19872,5211,446573,03571023
19882,5151,475593,14867421
19892,4221,445603,09572523
19902,4311,486613,02963321
19912,2011,295592,64658422
19922,0401,215602,67363624
19932,0311,212602,68163023
19941,9451,091562,65961523
19952,0411,150562,71663323
19962,0251,165582,62462724
19971,8821,041552,71458121
19981,8991,054552,66660823
19991,8711,071572,42356623
20001,743992572,41652922
20011,856980532,48256623
20021,893997532,44757624
20031,8431,000542,42854522
20041,845997542,37252322
20051,9681,056542,46249220
20061,9991,093552,35354823
20071,9321,036542,34453823
20081,846983532,20455325
20091,742929532,02446023

Where they died

Seventy-one percent of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by land use, 2009
YearUrbanRuralTotal*
Num%Num%Num
19754,401593,115417,516
19764,409593,013417,427
19774,997652,711357,732
19784,934632,748357,795
19795,309662,688338,096
19805,279652,698338,070
19815,066652,614337,837
19824,809662,455337,331
19834,477662,341346,826
19844,660662,360347,025
19854,586672,215336,808
19864,580682,197326,779
19874,631692,105316,745
19884,650682,216326,870
19894,620701,931296,556
19904,619711,855296,482
19914,053701,738305,801
19923,923711,597295,549
19933,949701,663295,649
19943,934721,543285,489
19953,914701,644295,584
19963,838701,596295,449
19973,699701,611305,321
19983,584691,611315,228
19993,400691,519314,939
20003,298691,376294,763
20013,437701,452304,901
20023,421711,418294,851
20033,479731,283274,774
20043,393731,274274,675
20053,618741,245254,892
20063,521731,234264,795
20073,442731,236264,699
20083,184721,210274,414
20092,909711,146284,092
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Thirty-seven percent of pedestrian deaths among people 60 and older in 2009 occurred at intersections, compared with 22 percent for those younger than 60.

Pedestrian deaths by junction type and age, 2009
Junction type< 1313-1920-3435-5960-69≥ 70Total*
Num%Num%Num%Num%Num%Num%Num%
Non-intersection1457319677723841,3087528165361633,02974
Intersection53276023142164312515435216371,06326
Total*1981002561008651001,7391004351005771004,092100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Seventy-three percent of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred on major roads, including interstates and freeways.

Pedestrian deaths by road type, 2009
Road typeNum%
Interstates and freeways61315
Other major roads2,35858
Minor roads1,07026
All road types*4,092100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

In urban areas, 53 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 27 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.

Pedestrian deaths by speed limit and land use, 2009
Speed limitUrbanRuralTotal*
Num%Num%Num%
No limit9<110120<1
< 35 mph656231111078219
35-40 mph89831199171,09927
45-50 mph674232282090922
55+ mph49517550481,05126
Unknown17764842316
Total*2,9091001,1461004,092100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

When they died

Twenty-five percent of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred in crashes between 6 pm and 9 pm and 22 percent occurred between 9 pm and midnight.

Pedestrian deaths by time of day, 2009
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight-3am49612
3am-6am3799
6am-9am3438
9am-noon2336
Noon-3pm2386
3pm-6pm44011
6pm-9pm1,01625
9pm-midnight91822
Total*4,092100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The largest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2009 occurred on Saturday (18 percent), followed by Friday (17 percent).

Pedestrian deaths by day of week, 2008
Day of weekDeaths%
Sunday57114
Monday50912
Tuesday51813
Wednesday53813
Thursday52913
Friday70017
Saturday72718
Total*4,092100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns


References