Are Pedestrian Fatalities Increasing?

During 2017, more than 5,900 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic accidents, according to the most recent statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This included 858 pedestrian fatalties in California alone. Although this represents a slight decrease from 2016, when more than 6,000 pedestrians passed away in traffic accidents across the country, the figures from 2017 are higher than the deaths reported each year between 2008 and 2015.

Sadly, many of the fatal pedestrian accidents that occur are completely preventable and drivers can save many lives by paying attention to traffic safety guidelines. Regrettably, many drivers disregard traffic laws, whether they speed, drive drunk or send text messages behind the wheel.

Fatal pedestrian accident statistics

A study by the NHTSA further breaks down pedestrian accident statistics, including when most accidents occurred and other factors involved. Notably, 75% of pedestrian deaths occurred at night and 47% of crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalties involved alcohol, either for the driver or pedestrian. Furthermore, more pedestrians lost their lives in urban areas than in rural areas.

Saving pedestrian lives

Drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians can all take steps to prevent future pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians can advocate for their own safety by keeping a few important tips from the NHTSA in mind:

  • Walk on a sidewalk or other path when at all possible
  • Exercise extra caution when walking at night
  • Be predictable by crossing the street at intersections or crosswalks, which is where most drivers expect to encounter pedestrians
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing or reflective clothing, especially at night

Pedestrians need to watch out for reckless drivers and those operating vehicles need to carefully keep an eye out for people who are walking near traffic or trying to cross the street. By recognizing the dangers that are present on the roads and remaining alert at all times, all road users have the ability to prevent pedestrian accidents and save lives.