According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 4,300 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in 2010 and another 70,000 endured various injuries. Five years later, these figures increased: 5,376 pedestrian fatalities and 129,000 emergency room treatments for non-fatal injuries.
Why the spike in numbers? The NHTSA attributes it to distracted driving. No matter the reason, pedestrians hit by a car are 1.5 times more likely to be killed than the vehicle’s occupants, so this increase is a serious safety issue.
For 72 percent of accidents involving pedestrians, the conditions are similar: At night, in an urban area and on an arterial road, rather than at an intersection. Beyond these big-picture commonalities, the following factors increase your risk of being struck.
Figures show that pedestrians at both ends of the age spectrum – children and the elderly – are more likely to get hit by a vehicle. Data from AARP indicates that individuals over age 65 have a greater chance of being struck and killed. Out of all related fatalities, 20 percent involve senior citizens.
Unfortunately, children are not far behind. According to NHTSA figures from 2010, 19 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents involved children ages 5 to 9. For those who experienced injuries, nearly a quarter of the pedestrians were 16 years old and under. As of 2015, 20 percent of all traffic deaths involving children 15 years and younger were pedestrian accidents.
While these statistics are alarming, those in between are not exempt from injuries or death. For related emergency room treatments, those 15 to 29 years of age compose the largest group.
The faster you drive, the greater your chances of losing control and hitting another vehicle or damaging property. In pedestrian accidents, speed literally kills. According to a study by the London Department for Transportation, the difference from 30 to 40 mph increases accident-related fatalities. Supporting these findings, 60 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents involved a driver going 40 mph or faster.
By using the crosswalk, many pedestrians assume that drivers will automatically stop. However, figures from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration indicate that pedestrian-related conditions remain the same, regardless of whether a crosswalk is used. On roads with two lanes and a crosswalk, motorists appear more likely to hit a pedestrian than if the individual crossed a road without one.