When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the complete lack of protection makes the pedestrian extremely vulnerable to severe injuries. To safeguard people on foot, drivers must pay attention and yield to pedestrians. Crosswalks, walk lights, bright clothing and constant vigilance all contribute to pedestrian safety and help drivers avoid collisions with them.
Despite the many safety measures available to ensure pedestrian accidents do not happen, deaths continue to occur daily in the U.S. When both pedestrians and vehicles adhere to road laws and pay attention, they may prevent these accidents. A look at the statistics, though, paints a bleak picture of reality when it comes to motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths to people who travel by foot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were almost 6,000 deaths from pedestrian accidents in 2017. Broken down, this means a fatal pedestrian accident occurs every 88 minutes. In any car accident, pedestrians will have about a 1.5 times higher chance of dying than people inside a car.
Pedestrian fatalities occur most often in urban areas and are not as likely to occur at intersections. Time of day also makes a difference: Most accident fatalities take place at night. The top causes of these crashes are speeding and drunk driving.
The total number of reported car accident injuries to pedestrians was around 137,000 in 2017. These were nonfatal injuries, but many of them were still debilitating. The increasing size and horsepower of popular vehicles result more often in severe, life-changing injuries such as spinal damage and head trauma.
Children and older adults are more likely than other age groups to be in a pedestrian accident. Children under the age of 15 account for one out of every five pedestrian deaths. Older adults make up 10% of the pedestrian accident injuries and 20% of the deaths.