Pedestrian Accidents

How many pedestrians are killed each year in traffic accidents?

You’d be surprised to learn that in 2010, there were 4,280 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  To put this in simpler terms, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours in the U.S. while walking.  Additionally, over 70,000 individuals were injured by a moving vehicle in 2010.  The NHTSA didn’t publish how many were injured by non-moving vehicles.

What is the definition of a pedestrian?

pedestrian crosswalkCredit: The Tire Zoo, CC by 2.0, FlickrWell, the NHTSA defines a pedestrian in their accident report as “a person on foot, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down” who is involved in a motor vehicle accident.  I always thought of a pedestrian as someone who is “mobile” or moving along a roadside.  Apparently, not all of the deaths mentioned above were by mobile individuals.  Yes, a few of those deaths were by individuals who were sitting down next to the road and even a few that were lying in the middle of the road as a dare by a peer. Horrifying thought!

How many total people die in the U.S. annually due to traffic accidents?

32,885 transportation deaths occurred in 2010.  A statistic that is hard to believe is 13% of all traffic deaths were pedestrians hit by a vehicle (4,280 / 32,885 = 13 %).  Yes, 1 in 8 traffic deaths as the result of a car crash were not inside the crashing vehicle, but were on foot.  Those inside the vehicle at least had the opportunity to wear a seat belt to protect them during the impact, while those outside… sadly felt the full force of the impact.

Accident Statistics

Additional Pedestrian Fatality Statistics

In 2010 -

  • 73% of pedestrians killed occurred in an urban environment.
  • 79% of pedestrians killed were at non-intersections.
  • 88% of pedestrian deaths were during good weather on clear or cloudy days.
  • 68% were during night time.
  • 19% of children killed in a traffic crash were pedestrians. Yes, 1 in 5 children killed in a car crash are not inside the vehicle during the crash.
  • 69% of pedestrians killed are male.
  • 30% of all pedestrian fatalities occur in a 4 hour period each day between the hours of 8pm and midnight.
  • 4% of all pedestrian fatalities occur in the 4 hour period between 8am and noon.
  • Males age 65 and older are 3X more likely to die as the result of being hit as a pedestrian than the average U.S. population.
  • 47% of all pedestrians killed in a car crash involved alcohol by either the driver or pedestrian.  An amazing 25% (1,072) of those pedestrians killed when alcohol was involved were situations where the driver had no alcohol usage, but the pedestrian had tested for alcohol usage.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics by State

  • In 2010, Texas had the sad distinction of leading the nation in traffic deaths with 2,998 fatalities.
  • In 2010, Vermont had 4 pedestrian fatalities compared to California's 599 and Florida’s 487.
  • In 2010, a cross comparison of percentage of pedestrians killed to overall state automobile accident fatalities indicates that a pedestrian in New York is 12X more likely to be a pedestrian killed in an automobile crash when compared to Wyoming.