Roadway improvements have been shown to reduce crashes.
Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have declined dramatically since 1975 but still account for 13 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).
A total of 4,280 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2010, down 43 percent from 1975. Since 1975 pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths to 13 percent in 2010. Pedestrian deaths increased by 4 percent from 2009 to 2010, compared to a decline of 4 percent for all other crash deaths.
Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2010
Eighteen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.
The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 60 percent between 1975 and 2010. 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 2010 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, 1975-2010
Sixty-nine percent of pedestrians killed in 2010 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.
Fifty-one percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9 p.m.-6 a.m.) crashes in 2010 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 (6 a.m.-9 p.m.) crashes in 2010 was 22 percent, compared to 27 percent in 1982.
Seventy-three percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.
Thirty-seven percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2010 occurred at intersections, compared with 19 percent for those younger than 60.
Fifty-six percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred on major roads other than freeways..
In urban areas, 53 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 26 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.
Twenty-four percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred in crashes between 6 pm and 9 pm and 21 percent occurred between 9 pm and midnight.
The largest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred on Saturday (17 percent), followed by Friday (16 percent).
©1996-2015, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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