Fatality Facts 2020Pedestrians

Overview

Pedestrian motor vehicle crash deaths have increased 59 percent since reaching their low point in 2009 and account for 17 percent of crash fatalities. The rates of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people are highest for people ages 20-69.

Pedestrian deaths occur primarily in urban areas. Engineering measures that separate vehicles and pedestrians, such as sidewalks, refuge islands, overpasses and underpasses, and barriers, can reduce the problem. Increased illumination, improved signal timing at intersections, and beacons that alert drivers to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are present also can be effective. Because traffic speeds affect the risk and severity of pedestrian crashes, reducing speeds can lower pedestrian deaths. Mead, J., Zegeer, C., & Bushell, M. (2014). Evaluation of pedestrian-related roadway measures: A summary of available research (Report No. DTFH61-11-H-00024). Federal Highway Administration.

Vehicle factors also are important. Most serious injuries result from pedestrians hitting vehicle bumpers, hoods or windshields. 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. Society of Automotive Engineers.In addition, some vehicles are equipped with crash avoidance technologies that detect pedestrians and may automatically brake prior to impact.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Posted May 2022.

Age and sex

The rate of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people decreased 43 percent from 1975 to 2020. The pedestrian death rate for children ages 0-12 decreased 92 percent from 1975. Children of these ages had the second-highest pedestrian death rate in 1975 but the lowest in 2020. The death rate for pedestrians 70 and older declined 78 percent from 1975. Pedestrians ages 45-69 had the highest death rate, and for the first year since 1975, death rates for pedestrians ages 20-44 surpassed that of pedestrians 70 and older. 

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2020

Pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people by age, 1975-2020
Year<13 13-19 20-44 45-69 ≥ 70 yearsTotal*
PopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRate
1975 45,851,3041,632 3.6 29,795,023 796 2.7 73,828,9281,829 2.5 51,933,9991,827 3.5 14,563,9451,348 9.3215,973,1997,516 3.5
1976 45,000,7041,522 3.4 29,909,414 855 2.9 75,838,8561,854 2.4 52,326,0701,824 3.5 14,960,1201,291 8.6218,035,1647,427 3.4
1977 44,337,3321,390 3.1 29,800,313 835 2.8 78,059,9192,078 2.7 52,640,6121,914 3.6 15,401,2491,383 9.0220,239,4257,732 3.5
1978 43,907,4671,419 3.2 29,543,252 868 2.9 80,345,8842,251 2.8 52,911,4011,909 3.6 15,876,5411,214 7.6222,584,5457,795 3.5
1979 43,778,9591,291 2.9 29,077,607 923 3.2 82,675,1962,546 3.1 53,135,1081,891 3.6 16,388,6171,277 7.8225,055,4878,096 3.6
1980 43,914,3421,183 2.7 28,486,487 906 3.2 84,619,6132,598 3.1 53,306,3001,863 3.5 16,897,9771,344 8.0227,224,7198,070 3.6
1981 44,049,9401,064 2.4 27,743,947 797 2.9 86,957,8212,705 3.1 53,391,1861,752 3.3 17,322,7141,278 7.4229,465,6087,837 3.4
1982 44,131,596 986 2.2 27,160,586 793 2.9 89,129,9012,704 3.0 53,458,5251,589 3.0 17,783,8881,124 6.3231,664,4967,331 3.2
1983 44,119,297 944 2.1 26,737,497 671 2.5 91,107,4672,471 2.7 53,593,8911,555 2.9 18,233,7511,081 5.9233,791,9036,826 2.9
1984 43,978,044 935 2.1 26,435,885 615 2.3 92,994,1992,564 2.8 53,753,7171,616 3.0 18,662,9381,164 6.2235,824,7837,025 3.0
1985 44,260,136 925 2.1 26,001,247 592 2.3 94,652,1852,444 2.6 53,937,3791,549 2.9 19,072,7851,170 6.1237,923,7326,808 2.9
1986 44,755,454 913 2.0 25,592,481 584 2.3 96,124,8992,514 2.6 54,196,5271,491 2.8 19,463,4801,157 5.9240,132,8416,779 2.8
1987 45,348,247 898 2.0 25,209,615 518 2.1 97,258,7442,496 2.6 54,581,6001,595 2.9 19,890,8171,160 5.8242,289,0236,745 2.8
1988 45,942,966 905 2.0 25,004,445 487 1.9 97,965,1792,563 2.6 55,283,9661,545 2.8 20,302,2801,271 6.3244,498,8366,870 2.8
1989 46,690,604 786 1.7 24,664,300 421 1.7 98,908,5032,559 2.6 55,836,3151,531 2.7 20,719,3971,180 5.7246,819,1196,556 2.7
1990 47,472,527 768 1.6 24,404,795 423 1.7100,059,3992,506 2.5 56,363,3921,513 2.7 21,164,2831,195 5.6249,464,3966,482 2.6
1991 48,240,747 695 1.4 24,066,587 437 1.8101,316,5352,260 2.2 56,777,3261,301 2.3 21,751,8971,044 4.8252,153,0925,801 2.3
1992 48,903,668 635 1.3 24,163,175 376 1.6101,332,6092,141 2.1 58,309,0301,346 2.3 22,321,217 997 4.5255,029,6995,549 2.2
1993 49,335,864 644 1.3 24,664,091 402 1.6101,396,4642,202 2.2 59,585,5161,300 2.2 22,800,6731,012 4.4257,782,6085,649 2.2
1994 49,692,462 659 1.3 25,219,838 355 1.4101,322,8162,092 2.1 60,848,0601,317 2.2 23,243,8451,021 4.4260,327,0215,489 2.1
1995 49,920,484 597 1.2 25,764,300 389 1.5101,267,8382,146 2.1 62,156,8971,397 2.2 23,693,7571,008 4.3262,803,2765,584 2.1
1996 50,085,188 570 1.1 26,357,198 362 1.4101,118,5852,064 2.0 63,611,2781,445 2.3 24,056,323 951 4.0265,228,5725,449 2.1
1997 50,364,983 513 1.0 26,730,812 371 1.4101,060,5982,015 2.0 65,218,3971,442 2.2 24,408,817 931 3.8267,783,6075,321 2.0
1998 50,527,476 464 0.9 27,174,728 351 1.3100,919,4291,937 1.9 66,832,8191,462 2.2 24,793,551 965 3.9270,248,0035,228 1.9
1999 50,667,139 449 0.9 27,518,156 333 1.2100,774,0501,831 1.8 68,638,6631,398 2.0 25,092,805 885 3.5272,690,8134,939 1.8
2000 52,219,423 403 0.8 28,326,412 337 1.2104,156,0981,771 1.7 71,930,3501,398 1.9 25,559,879 807 3.2282,192,1624,763 1.7
2001 52,341,395 363 0.7 28,437,711 346 1.2104,586,5681,823 1.7 73,938,9341,445 2.0 25,797,467 878 3.4285,102,0754,901 1.7
2002 52,332,306 317 0.6 28,644,313 353 1.2104,828,3681,760 1.7 76,130,9071,531 2.0 26,005,326 845 3.2287,941,2204,851 1.7
2003 52,187,602 327 0.6 29,028,500 348 1.2104,994,7251,751 1.7 78,377,2031,537 2.0 26,200,946 777 3.0290,788,9764,774 1.6
2004 52,151,406 293 0.6 29,400,392 305 1.0105,111,8921,726 1.6 80,654,1961,547 1.9 26,337,518 763 2.9293,655,4044,675 1.6
2005 52,149,395 274 0.5 29,589,854 325 1.1105,043,2361,784 1.7 82,969,2501,684 2.0 26,658,669 777 2.9296,410,4044,892 1.7
2006 52,306,908 267 0.5 29,772,198 314 1.1105,194,1691,751 1.7 85,240,4111,714 2.0 26,884,798 707 2.6299,398,4844,795 1.6
2007 52,585,809 243 0.5 29,775,943 343 1.2104,784,6111,735 1.7 87,339,2771,610 1.8 27,135,517 726 2.7301,621,1574,699 1.6
2008 52,929,779 215 0.4 29,710,307 320 1.1104,491,6761,606 1.5 89,406,9281,640 1.8 27,521,034 603 2.2304,059,7244,414 1.5
2009 53,753,412 201 0.4 29,667,279 259 0.9104,635,8371,477 1.4 91,163,7521,576 1.7 27,786,270 578 2.1307,006,5504,109 1.3
2010 52,937,278 212 0.4 30,247,014 295 1.0103,895,2561,525 1.5 94,289,9381,625 1.7 27,957,657 628 2.2309,327,1434,302 1.4
2011 52,921,253 169 0.3 29,917,216 298 1.0104,599,5991,553 1.5 95,673,1341,780 1.9 28,472,279 637 2.2311,583,4814,457 1.4
2012 52,855,061 208 0.4 29,646,417 289 1.0105,412,1431,703 1.6 96,811,9481,890 2.0 29,152,093 707 2.4313,877,6624,818 1.5
2013 52,719,631 208 0.4 29,551,607 241 0.8106,127,4191,703 1.6 97,620,9281,930 2.0 30,040,362 666 2.2316,059,9474,779 1.5
2014 52,676,380 167 0.3 29,462,818 267 0.9106,771,1011,740 1.6 98,612,0211,959 2.0 30,864,009 729 2.4318,386,3294,910 1.5
2015 52,764,080 187 0.4 29,356,330 278 0.9107,203,3631,957 1.8 99,790,4432,309 2.3 31,624,778 719 2.3320,738,9945,495 1.7
2016 52,811,215 198 0.4 29,350,222 322 1.1107,606,6802,169 2.0100,897,1522,500 2.5 32,406,486 822 2.5323,071,7556,080 1.9
2017 52,726,410 173 0.3 29,387,954 286 1.0108,149,3742,150 2.0100,894,3472,576 2.6 33,964,043 821 2.4325,122,1286,075 1.9
2018 52,553,599 165 0.3 29,402,794 252 0.9108,736,2642,354 2.2100,855,2362,649 2.6 35,290,306 911 2.6326,838,1996,374 2.0
2019 52,266,740 141 0.3 29,412,828 222 0.8109,322,1022,346 2.1100,735,9152,645 2.6 36,592,368 888 2.4328,329,9536,272 1.9
2020 51,887,147 144 0.3 29,367,208 229 0.8109,800,5932,593 2.4100,643,4772,702 2.7 37,785,698 767 2.0329,484,1236,516 2.0

Seventy-one percent of pedestrians killed in 2020 were males, a proportion that has varied little since 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by sex, 1975-2020
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 3,102 70 1,354 30 4,457 100
2012 3,337 69 1,478 31 4,818 100
2013 3,277 69 1,496 31 4,779 100
2014 3,426 70 1,477 30 4,910 100
2015 3,832 70 1,654 30 5,495 100
2016 4,245 70 1,810 30 6,080 100
2017 4,234 70 1,812 30 6,075 100
2018 4,420 69 1,940 30 6,374 100
2019 4,400 70 1,864 30 6,272 100
2020 4,595 71 1,871 29 6,516 100

Alcohol

Thirty-nine percent of pedestrians 16 and older killed in nighttime (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) crashes in 2020 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 2020 was 23 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, 1982-2020
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 1,896 1,001 53 2,256 530 23
2012 2,043 1,052 51 2,437 564 23
2013 2,031 1,020 50 2,418 554 23
2014 2,112 1,026 49 2,491 562 23
2015 2,384 1,063 45 2,767 698 25
2016 2,682 1,206 45 3,018 750 25
2017 2,698 1,153 43 3,025 717 24
2018 2,922 1,237 42 3,167 772 24
2019 2,857 1,185 41 3,151 728 23
2020 3,015 1,188 39 3,175 745 23

Where they died

Eighty-two percent of pedestrian deaths in 2020 occurred in urban areas, up from 59 percent in 1975.

Pedestrian deaths by land use, 1975-2020
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 64 2,748 36 7,795 100
1979 5,309 66 2,688 34 8,096 100
1980 5,279 66 2,698 34 8,070 100
1981 5,066 66 2,614 34 7,837 100
1982 4,809 66 2,455 34 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 71 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 30 5,649 100
1994 3,934 72 1,543 28 5,489 100
1995 3,914 70 1,644 30 5,584 100
1996 3,838 71 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 71 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 26 4,892 100
2006 3,521 74 1,234 26 4,795 100
2007 3,442 74 1,236 26 4,699 100
2008 3,184 72 1,210 28 4,414 100
2009 2,947 72 1,146 28 4,109 100
2010 3,129 73 1,146 27 4,302 100
2011 3,269 74 1,171 26 4,457 100
2012 3,541 74 1,267 26 4,818 100
2013 3,502 73 1,270 27 4,779 100
2014 3,806 78 1,092 22 4,910 100
2015 4,056 77 1,202 23 5,495 100
2016 4,783 79 1,256 21 6,080 100
2017 4,889 81 1,154 19 6,075 100
2018 5,222 82 1,122 18 6,374 100
2019 5,160 83 1,074 17 6,272 100
2020 5,239 82 1,160 18 6,516 100

Thirty-eight percent of pedestrian deaths among people 70 and older in 2020 occurred at intersections, compared with 21 percent for those ages 20-69.

Pedestrian deaths by occurrence at intersection and age, 2020
<13 years 13-19 years 20-69 years ≥ 70 yearsTotal*
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Nonintersection 111 77 194 85 4,205 79 478 62 5,055 78
Intersection 33 23 35 15 1,090 21 289 38 1,461 22
Total* 144 100 229 100 5,295 100 767 100 6,516 100

Sixty percent of pedestrian deaths in 2020 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways.

Pedestrian deaths by road type, 2020
Road typeNumber%
Interstates and freeways 1,099 17
Other major roads 3,935 60
Minor roads 1,315 20
All road types* 6,516 100

In urban areas, 49 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2020 occurred on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or less; in rural areas, 17 percent of deaths occurred on such roads.

Pedestrian deaths by speed limit and land use, 2020
Speed limitUrban Rural Total*
Number%Number%Number%
<35 mph 915 17 84 7 1,024 16
35-40 mph 1,676 32 113 10 1,821 28
45-50 mph 1,204 23 189 16 1,414 22
55+ mph 1,144 22 727 63 1,881 29
Unknown 300 6 47 4 376 6
Total* 5,239 100 1,160 100 6,516 100

When they died

Twenty-six percent of pedestrian deaths in 2020 occurred in crashes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and 25 percent occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Pedestrian deaths by time of day, 2020
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight - 3 a.m. 748 11
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 716 11
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 511 8
9 a.m. - noon 278 4
Noon - 3 p.m. 301 5
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 578 9
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 1,699 26
9 p.m. - midnight 1,632 25
Total* 6,516 100

The largest proportions of pedestrian deaths in 2020 occurred on Fridays and Saturdays (16 and 15 percent, respectively).

Pedestrian deaths by day of week, 2020
Day of weekDeaths%
Sunday 885 14
Monday 873 13
Tuesday 883 14
Wednesday 906 14
Thursday 933 14
Friday 1,031 16
Saturday 1,005 15
Total* 6,516 100

Pedestrian deaths in 2020 were most frequent in January, September, October, November, and December (10 percent each).

Pedestrian deaths by month, 2020
Deaths%
January 622 10
February 551 8
March 477 7
April 314 5
May 439 7
June 462 7
July 528 8
August 511 8
September 627 10
October 659 10
November 674 10
December 652 10
Total 6,516 100