In the United States, nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths were recorded in each of the years 2016 and 2017 – representing record fatalities in the past 25 years – according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
While the pedestrian death toll increased by 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, fatalities from other traffic accidents have decreased by 14 percent. Safety measures inside cars are protecting drivers and passengers, yet pedestrians face the same risks.
The elderly, poor and uninsured are most vulnerable. Florida is home to eight of the ten of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. The five most dangerous states are California, Florida, Texas, New York and Arizona. In New York state, only eight percent of the total traffic crashes involve pedestrians. This type of accident, however, tends to result in serious injury or fatalities. Urban areas account for the majority of pedestrian crashes. New York City accounts for 72% of the collisions with 59% of the deaths involving a pedestrian.
Common Causes of Vehicle Pedestrian Accidents
Following speeding and failure to yield, another cause of increased knock-down accidents is drivers distracted by electronic devices – particularly their phones.
Pedestrians are also at fault for being oblivious to traffic conditions. Most fatalities seventy-five percent of occurred in the dark, and in 72 percent of the victim was walking in or crossing a road and wasn’t in an intersection. Also using marijuana and alcohol that impair their abilities. Up to 33 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved a pedestrian with a blood alcohol content above the legal driving limit, according to the most recent GHSA report. Seven states that legalized marijuana noted a 16.4 collective percentage increase.
It’s also worth noting that lower gas prices and a stronger economy result in more people and cars on the roads. Thus, every two hours, a pedestrian dies in a traffic crash.
Higher Risks for the Elderly in Pedestrian Vehicle Accidents
Thirteen percent of the U.S. population is 65 years or older, and 21% of all pedestrian fatalities fall into that age range. As mobility challenges increase with age, the elderly encounter more risks as they navigate streets that were built to move cars, not to keep pedestrians safe. Due to urban sprawl, arterial roads have been constructed but are often the grounds for speeding.
Improved design can protect pedestrians. For example, raised medians where pedestrians can wait as traffic dissipates and overhead lights enhance the visibility of dark crossings. City planners have taken to placing trees and buildings closer to the streets. Drivers slow down when they are required to pay attention to more variables.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Be Seen Stay Safe: Make yourself visible to drivers
Wear light or bright colored clothing or use reflective material.
When walking at night carry a flashlight
Cross the street in crosswalk!
If there are no crosswalks, cross in a well-lit area at night.
Keep a distance from buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.