With the weather starting to warm up. Many people will decide to take in the fresh air and great weather and walk. Pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence that shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly.
How big is the problem?
In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, and another 69,000 pedestrians were injured. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than occupants in a vehicle. The danger is very real.
Who is most at risk?
- Older adults
Pedestrians ages 65 and older accounted for 18% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10% of all pedestrians injured in 2008.
In 2008, one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian.
- Drivers and pedestrians who are alcohol-impaired
Alcohol-impairment—either for the driver or for the pedestrian—was reported in 48 percent of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death. Of the pedestrians involved, 36 percent had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the illegal limit of .08.
Additionally, higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car and the severity of injury. In addition, most pedestrian and bicycle deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.
How can pedestrians help prevent injuries and death from motor vehicle crashes?
- Pedestrians should be especially careful at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street.
- Pedestrians should increase their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- Whenever possible, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk. It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk, but if pedestrians must walk in the street, they should walk facing traffic.