Who is Most at Risk for Pedestrian Accidents?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Injury Center reports that the elderly and younger children are most at risk for pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians who are older than 65 represent 17% of those killed in an accident and 10% of those injured. The chances of being killed are high compared to being injured because older adults are less likely to move out of the way quickly. An older person may not notice an accident is imminent.

Younger adults, who are more nimble, have more ability to see something coming at them, like a car out-of-control or speeding, and to jump out of the way. However, young children are less likely to pay attention and may run out into traffic to be hit by a passing vehicle. Pedestrians who are children younger than15 represent 19% of those killed in an accident.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

A pedestrian can be hit by a bicycle, a motorcycle, an automobile, a bus, or a truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports around 60,000 traffic accidents each year involving pedestrians. There are just over 37,000 pedestrian deaths annually.

It is frightening to learn that about two-thirds of the people hit by a vehicle are killed. Those who walk in big cities have the most risk. The American city with the most fatalities per 100,000 in population is Los Angeles.

Distracted Driving

It might be surprising to learn that the most common cause of an accident, where a vehicle hits a pedestrian, is not the pedestrian’s fault. It is distracted driving by the vehicle operator.

Distracted driving includes talking or texting on a cell phone. This is illegal. Distracted driving also includes things that are not illegal but cause a dangerous distraction. Examples of this are eating something, programming a GPS system, applying makeup, looking at your face in the mirror, singing with music, and daydreaming while driving.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can cause an accident with a pedestrian. Vehicles involved in an accident with another vehicle can careen out-of-control and hit a pedestrian. The most common driving maneuvers made right before a pedestrian is hit 1) left turns; 2) right turns; 3) backing up, and; 4) making a U-turn.

Alcohol Use

Alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the vehicle driver, or both, was involved in 47% of the accidents that caused a pedestrian death.

Time of Day/Night

Half of the pedestrian deaths from traffic accidents occur with just six hours each day. The most dangerous times for pedestrians are from dusk (6 p.m.) to midnight. The time from 6 to 9 p.m. accounts for 26% of the fatalities. The next most dangerous time is 9 p.m. to midnight, which accounts for 24% of the fatalities.

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Even if a person follows the rules, does not use alcohol, stays on the sidewalk, walks only where allowed, crosses only at an intersection with the guidance of the traffic lights, there is still a chance to get hit by a vehicle.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident while walking, contact a personal injury attorney immediately to get a free consultation by filling out the contact form or calling (281) 475-4535.