Pedestrians | 2011

Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have declined dramatically since 1975 but still account for 14 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, some vehicles are equipped with crash avoidance technologies that detect pedestrians and may automatically brake the vehicle prior to impact. 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 4,432 pedestrian deaths occurred in 2011, down 41 percent from 1975. Pedestrian deaths have declined from 17 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 1975 to 14 percent in 2011. Pedestrian deaths increased by 8 percent from their lowest point in 2009, compared with a decline of 6 percent for all other crash deaths during this period.

Pedestrian deaths and other motor vehicle crash deaths, 1975-2011
YearPedestrian deaths Other deaths All motor vehicle deaths
Number%Number%Number%
1975 7,516 17 37,009 83 44,525 100
1976 7,427 16 38,096 84 45,523 100
1977 7,732 16 40,146 84 47,878 100
1978 7,795 15 42,536 85 50,331 100
1979 8,096 16 42,997 84 51,093 100
1980 8,070 16 43,021 84 51,091 100
1981 7,837 16 41,464 84 49,301 100
1982 7,331 17 36,614 83 43,945 100
1983 6,826 16 35,763 84 42,589 100
1984 7,025 16 37,232 84 44,257 100
1985 6,808 16 37,017 84 43,825 100
1986 6,779 15 39,308 85 46,087 100
1987 6,745 15 39,645 85 46,390 100
1988 6,870 15 40,217 85 47,087 100
1989 6,556 14 39,026 86 45,582 100
1990 6,482 15 38,117 85 44,599 100
1991 5,801 14 35,707 86 41,508 100
1992 5,549 14 33,701 86 39,250 100
1993 5,649 14 34,501 86 40,150 100
1994 5,489 13 35,227 87 40,716 100
1995 5,584 13 36,233 87 41,817 100
1996 5,449 13 36,616 87 42,065 100
1997 5,321 13 36,692 87 42,013 100
1998 5,228 13 36,273 87 41,501 100
1999 4,939 12 36,778 88 41,717 100
2000 4,763 11 37,182 89 41,945 100
2001 4,901 12 37,295 88 42,196 100
2002 4,851 11 38,154 89 43,005 100
2003 4,774 11 38,110 89 42,884 100
2004 4,675 11 38,161 89 42,836 100
2005 4,892 11 38,618 89 43,510 100
2006 4,795 11 37,913 89 42,708 100
2007 4,699 11 36,560 89 41,259 100
2008 4,414 12 33,009 88 37,423 100
2009 4,109 12 29,774 88 33,883 100
2010 4,302 13 28,697 87 32,999 100
2011 4,432 14 27,935 86 32,367 100

Nineteen percent of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred in hit-and-run crashes.

Pedestrian deaths by hit-and-run occurrences, 2011
Hit-and-run No hit-and-runTotal*
Number%Number%Number
853 19 3,571 81 4,432

Age and gender

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 60 percent from 1975 to 2011. The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 92 percent. Children this age had the second-highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but in 2011 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, 1975-2011
Year<13 years 13-19 years 20-69 years ≥ 70 yearsTotal*
PopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRate
1975 45,851,3041,632 3.6 29,795,023 796 2.7125,762,9273,656 2.9 14,563,9451,348 9.3215,973,1997,516 3.5
1976 45,000,7041,522 3.4 29,909,414 855 2.9128,164,9263,678 2.9 14,960,1201,291 8.6218,035,1647,427 3.4
1977 44,337,3321,390 3.1 29,800,313 835 2.8130,700,5313,992 3.1 15,401,2491,383 9.0220,239,4257,732 3.5
1978 43,907,4671,419 3.2 29,543,252 868 2.9133,257,2854,160 3.1 15,876,5411,214 7.6222,584,5457,795 3.5
1979 43,778,9591,291 2.9 29,077,607 923 3.2135,810,3044,437 3.3 16,388,6171,277 7.8225,055,4878,096 3.6
1980 43,914,3421,183 2.7 28,486,487 906 3.2137,925,9134,461 3.2 16,897,9771,344 8.0227,224,7198,070 3.6
1981 44,049,9401,064 2.4 27,743,947 797 2.9140,349,0074,457 3.2 17,322,7141,278 7.4229,465,6087,837 3.4
1982 44,131,596 986 2.2 27,160,586 793 2.9142,588,4264,293 3.0 17,783,8881,124 6.3231,664,4967,331 3.2
1983 44,119,297 944 2.1 26,737,497 671 2.5144,701,3584,026 2.8 18,233,7511,081 5.9233,791,9036,826 2.9
1984 43,978,044 935 2.1 26,435,885 615 2.3146,747,9164,180 2.8 18,662,9381,164 6.2235,824,7837,025 3.0
1985 44,260,136 925 2.1 26,001,247 592 2.3148,589,5643,993 2.7 19,072,7851,170 6.1237,923,7326,808 2.9
1986 44,755,454 913 2.0 25,592,481 584 2.3150,321,4264,005 2.7 19,463,4801,157 5.9240,132,8416,779 2.8
1987 45,348,247 898 2.0 25,209,615 518 2.1151,840,3444,091 2.7 19,890,8171,160 5.8242,289,0236,745 2.8
1988 45,942,966 905 2.0 25,004,445 487 1.9153,249,1454,108 2.7 20,302,2801,271 6.3244,498,8366,870 2.8
1989 46,690,604 786 1.7 24,664,300 421 1.7154,744,8184,090 2.6 20,719,3971,180 5.7246,819,1196,556 2.7
1990 47,472,527 768 1.6 24,404,795 423 1.7156,422,7914,019 2.6 21,164,2831,195 5.6249,464,3966,482 2.6
1991 48,240,747 695 1.4 24,066,587 437 1.8158,093,8613,561 2.3 21,751,8971,044 4.8252,153,0925,801 2.3
1992 48,903,668 635 1.3 24,163,175 376 1.6159,641,6393,487 2.2 22,321,217 997 4.5255,029,6995,549 2.2
1993 49,335,864 644 1.3 24,664,091 402 1.6160,981,9803,502 2.2 22,800,6731,012 4.4257,782,6085,649 2.2
1994 49,692,462 659 1.3 25,219,838 355 1.4162,170,8763,409 2.1 23,243,8451,021 4.4260,327,0215,489 2.1
1995 49,920,484 597 1.2 25,764,300 389 1.5163,424,7353,543 2.2 23,693,7571,008 4.3262,803,2765,584 2.1
1996 50,085,188 570 1.1 26,357,198 362 1.4164,729,8633,509 2.1 24,056,323 951 4.0265,228,5725,449 2.1
1997 50,364,983 513 1.0 26,730,812 371 1.4166,278,9953,457 2.1 24,408,817 931 3.8267,783,6075,321 2.0
1998 50,527,476 464 0.9 27,174,728 351 1.3167,752,2483,399 2.0 24,793,551 965 3.9270,248,0035,228 1.9
1999 50,667,139 449 0.9 27,518,156 333 1.2169,412,7133,229 1.9 25,092,805 885 3.5272,690,8134,939 1.8
2000 52,219,423 403 0.8 28,326,412 337 1.2176,086,4483,169 1.8 25,559,879 807 3.2282,192,1624,763 1.7
2001 52,341,395 363 0.7 28,437,711 346 1.2178,525,5023,268 1.8 25,797,467 878 3.4285,102,0754,901 1.7
2002 52,332,306 317 0.6 28,644,313 353 1.2180,959,2753,291 1.8 26,005,326 845 3.2287,941,2204,851 1.7
2003 52,187,602 327 0.6 29,028,500 348 1.2183,371,9283,288 1.8 26,200,946 777 3.0290,788,9764,774 1.6
2004 52,151,406 293 0.6 29,400,392 305 1.0185,766,0883,273 1.8 26,337,518 763 2.9293,655,4044,675 1.6
2005 52,149,395 274 0.5 29,589,854 325 1.1188,012,4863,468 1.8 26,658,669 777 2.9296,410,4044,892 1.7
2006 52,306,908 267 0.5 29,772,198 314 1.1190,434,5803,465 1.8 26,884,798 707 2.6299,398,4844,795 1.6
2007 52,585,809 243 0.5 29,775,943 343 1.2192,123,8883,345 1.7 27,135,517 726 2.7301,621,1574,699 1.6
2008 52,929,779 215 0.4 29,710,307 320 1.1193,898,6043,246 1.7 27,521,034 603 2.2304,059,7244,414 1.5
2009 53,753,412 201 0.4 29,667,279 259 0.9195,799,5893,053 1.6 27,786,270 578 2.1307,006,5504,109 1.3
2010 52,943,218 212 0.4 30,324,338 295 1.0197,645,2613,150 1.6 27,832,721 628 2.3308,745,5384,302 1.4
2011 52,950,108 171 0.3 29,895,041 294 1.0200,226,4153,311 1.7 28,520,353 631 2.2311,591,9174,432 1.4

Seventy percent of pedestrians killed in 2011 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by gender, 1975-2011
YearMale Female Total*
Number%Number%Number%
1975 5,196 69 2,319 31 7,516 100
1976 5,120 69 2,307 31 7,427 100
1977 5,331 69 2,400 31 7,732 100
1978 5,494 70 2,296 29 7,795 100
1979 5,701 70 2,391 30 8,096 100
1980 5,613 70 2,454 30 8,070 100
1981 5,459 70 2,332 30 7,837 100
1982 5,144 70 2,185 30 7,331 100
1983 4,775 70 2,050 30 6,826 100
1984 5,016 71 2,005 29 7,025 100
1985 4,671 69 2,133 31 6,808 100
1986 4,771 70 2,004 30 6,779 100
1987 4,777 71 1,967 29 6,745 100
1988 4,756 69 2,111 31 6,870 100
1989 4,594 70 1,959 30 6,556 100
1990 4,495 69 1,985 31 6,482 100
1991 3,985 69 1,815 31 5,801 100
1992 3,867 70 1,679 30 5,549 100
1993 3,936 70 1,711 30 5,649 100
1994 3,757 68 1,732 32 5,489 100
1995 3,856 69 1,728 31 5,584 100
1996 3,780 69 1,667 31 5,449 100
1997 3,643 68 1,677 32 5,321 100
1998 3,558 68 1,670 32 5,228 100
1999 3,466 70 1,472 30 4,939 100
2000 3,251 68 1,512 32 4,763 100
2001 3,421 70 1,479 30 4,901 100
2002 3,298 68 1,552 32 4,851 100
2003 3,274 69 1,499 31 4,774 100
2004 3,237 69 1,435 31 4,675 100
2005 3,450 71 1,441 29 4,892 100
2006 3,332 69 1,459 30 4,795 100
2007 3,288 70 1,411 30 4,699 100
2008 3,078 70 1,331 30 4,414 100
2009 2,827 69 1,282 31 4,109 100
2010 2,961 69 1,339 31 4,302 100
2011 3,086 70 1,345 30 4,432 100

Alcohol

Fifty-three percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) crashes in 2011 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent, compared with 61 percent in 1982. The rate of high BACs among pedestrians 16 and older killed in daytime (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) crashes in 2011 was 24 percent, compared with 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, 1982-2011
YearNighttime (9 p.m. - 6 a.m.)Daytime (6 a.m. - 9 p.m.)
Pedestrians killedEstimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08Pedestrians killedEstimated pedestrians killed with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumberNumber%NumberNumber%
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 1,752 928 53 2,032 462 23
2010 1,822 942 52 2,143 456 21
2011 1,885 998 53 2,234 531 24

Where they died

Seventy-three percent of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by land use, 1975-2011
YearUrban Rural Total*
Number%Number%Number%
1975 4,401 59 3,115 41 7,516 100
1976 4,409 59 3,013 41 7,427 100
1977 4,997 65 2,711 35 7,732 100
1978 4,934 63 2,748 35 7,795 100
1979 5,309 66 2,688 33 8,096 100
1980 5,279 65 2,698 33 8,070 100
1981 5,066 65 2,614 33 7,837 100
1982 4,809 66 2,455 33 7,331 100
1983 4,477 66 2,341 34 6,826 100
1984 4,660 66 2,360 34 7,025 100
1985 4,586 67 2,215 33 6,808 100
1986 4,580 68 2,197 32 6,779 100
1987 4,631 69 2,105 31 6,745 100
1988 4,650 68 2,216 32 6,870 100
1989 4,620 70 1,931 29 6,556 100
1990 4,619 71 1,855 29 6,482 100
1991 4,053 70 1,738 30 5,801 100
1992 3,923 71 1,597 29 5,549 100
1993 3,949 70 1,663 29 5,649 100
1994 3,934 72 1,543 28 5,489 100
1995 3,914 70 1,644 29 5,584 100
1996 3,838 70 1,596 29 5,449 100
1997 3,699 70 1,611 30 5,321 100
1998 3,584 69 1,611 31 5,228 100
1999 3,400 69 1,519 31 4,939 100
2000 3,298 69 1,376 29 4,763 100
2001 3,437 70 1,452 30 4,901 100
2002 3,421 71 1,418 29 4,851 100
2003 3,479 73 1,283 27 4,774 100
2004 3,393 73 1,274 27 4,675 100
2005 3,618 74 1,245 25 4,892 100
2006 3,521 73 1,234 26 4,795 100
2007 3,442 73 1,236 26 4,699 100
2008 3,184 72 1,210 27 4,414 100
2009 2,947 72 1,146 28 4,109 100
2010 3,129 73 1,146 27 4,302 100
2011 3,241 73 1,174 26 4,432 100

Thirty-eight percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2011 occurred at intersections, compared with 23 percent for those younger than 70.

Pedestrian deaths by junction type and age, 2011
Junction type<13 years 13-19 years 20-69 years ≥ 70 yearsTotal*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Non-intersection 129 75 222 76 2,559 77 389 62 3,318 75
Intersection 42 25 72 24 752 23 242 38 1,114 25
Total* 171 100 294 100 3,311 100 631 100 4,432 100

Fifty-seven percent of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways.

Pedestrian deaths by road type, 2011
Road typeNumber%
Interstates and freeways 674 15
Other major roads 2,540 57
Minor roads 1,183 27
All road types* 4,432 100

In urban areas, 53 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas 25 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.

Pedestrian deaths by speed limit and land use, 2011
Speed limitUrban Rural Total*
Number%Number%Number%
No limit 28 1 5<1 35 1
<35 mph 706 22 104 9 818 18
35-40 mph 1,002 31 192 16 1,197 27
45-50 mph 692 21 250 21 943 21
55+ mph 662 20 599 51 1,261 28
Unknown 151 5 24 2 178 4
Total* 3,241 100 1,174 100 4,432 100

When they died

Twenty-five percent of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred in crashes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and 22 percent occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Pedestrian deaths by time of day, 2011
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight - 3 a.m. 537 12
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 427 10
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 410 9
9 a.m. - Noon 258 6
Noon - 3 p.m. 237 5
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 437 10
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 1,114 25
9 p.m. - Midnight 987 22
Total* 4,432 100

The largest proportion of pedestrian deaths in 2011 occurred on Saturday (18 percent), followed by Friday and Thursday (15 percent each).

Pedestrian deaths by day of week, 2011
Day of WeekDeaths%
Sunday 596 13
Monday 592 13
Tuesday 564 13
Wednesday 575 13
Thursday 652 15
Friday 670 15
Saturday 783 18
Total* 4,432 100

Pedestrian deaths in 2011 were most frequent in October (12 percent), followed by December and November (11 percent each).

Pedestrian deaths by month, 2011
Deaths%
January 338 8
February 323 7
March 352 8
April 291 7
May 300 7
June 297 7
July 325 7
August 305 7
September 417 9
October 513 12
November 464 10
December 507 11
Total 4,432 100

References