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
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 4,795 11 37,913 89 42,708
2007 4,699 11 36,560 89 41,259
2008 4,414 12 33,009 88 37,423
2009 4,092 12 29,716 88 33,808

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

Pedestrian deaths by hit-and-run occurrence, 2009
Hit-and-run No hit-and-run Total*
Num % Num % Num
699 17 3,391 83 4,092
*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 < 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 2.0 2.6 1.6
2007 0.5 1.2 1.6 1.9 1.5 2.7 1.6
2008 0.4 1.1 1.5 1.8 1.6 2.2 1.5
2009 0.4 0.9 1.4 1.7 1.6 2.1 1.3
*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 < 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 52,306,908 267 0.5 29,772,198 314 1.1 61,527,219 973 1.6 105,169,569 2,025 1.9 23,737,792 467 2.0 26,884,798 707 2.6
2007 52,585,809 243 0.5 29,775,943 343 1.2 61,623,322 970 1.6 105,272,308 2,001 1.9 25,228,258 374 1.5 27,135,517 726 2.7
2008 52,929,779 215 0.4 29,710,307 320 1.1 61,990,546 930 1.5 105,456,640 1,895 1.8 26,451,418 421 1.6 27,521,034 603 2.2
2009 53,753,412 198 0.4 29,667,279 256 0.9 63,105,881 865 1.4 105,097,465 1,739 1.7 27,596,243 435 1.6 27,786,270 577 2.1

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

Pedestrian deaths by gender, 1975-2009
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 3,332 69 1,459 30 4,795
2007 3,288 70 1,411 30 4,699
2008 3,078 70 1,331 30 4,414
2009 2,814 69 1,277 31 4,092
*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
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 1,999 1,093 55 2,353 548 23
2007 1,932 1,036 54 2,344 538 23
2008 1,846 983 53 2,204 553 25
2009 1,742 929 53 2,024 460 23

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
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 3,521 73 1,234 26 4,795
2007 3,442 73 1,236 26 4,699
2008 3,184 72 1,210 27 4,414
2009 2,909 71 1,146 28 4,092
*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 < 13 13-19 20-34 35-59 60-69 ≥ 70 Total*
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num %
Non-intersection 145 73 196 77 723 84 1,308 75 281 65 361 63 3,029 74
Intersection 53 27 60 23 142 16 431 25 154 35 216 37 1,063 26
Total* 198 100 256 100 865 100 1,739 100 435 100 577 100 4,092 100
*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 type Num %
Interstates and freeways 613 15
Other major roads 2,358 58
Minor roads 1,070 26
All road types* 4,092 100
*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 limit Urban Rural Total*
Num % Num % Num %
No limit 9 <1 10 1 20 <1
< 35 mph 656 23 111 10 782 19
35-40 mph 898 31 199 17 1,099 27
45-50 mph 674 23 228 20 909 22
55+ mph 495 17 550 48 1,051 26
Unknown 177 6 48 4 231 6
Total* 2,909 100 1,146 100 4,092 100
*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 day Deaths %
Midnight-3am 496 12
3am-6am 379 9
6am-9am 343 8
9am-noon 233 6
Noon-3pm 238 6
3pm-6pm 440 11
6pm-9pm 1,016 25
9pm-midnight 918 22
Total* 4,092 100
*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 week Deaths %
Sunday 571 14
Monday 509 12
Tuesday 518 13
Wednesday 538 13
Thursday 529 13
Friday 700 17
Saturday 727 18
Total* 4,092 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns


References