Pedestrian Accident Statistics in the U.S.

Get a review of pedestrian accident statistics, including fatalities, victim demographics, time of day, location, and alcohol involvement.

Pedestrian safety is becoming an increasingly important issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every trip taken, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a traffic accident.

To help promote pedestrian safety issues, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration has developed projects, programs and materials containing safety tips for road users to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.

17% of all traffic deaths are pedestrians

Notable Statistics:

  • In 2018, 6,189 car crashes resulted in 6,283 pedestrian fatalities.
  • Seventeen percent of all crash deaths in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
  • More than 2/3 of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018 were male.
  • Nearly half of all crashes where a pedestrian was killed involved at least some alcohol use.

This article will review statistics regarding pedestrian accidents in the U.S. All statistics in this article come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s 2018 Traffic Safety Facts publication on pedestrians.

Some of the data in the publication was gathered from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS contains data on fatal traffic accidents in the 50 states, the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), and Puerto Rico.

Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries in Traffic Accidents

In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in 6,189 motor vehicle crashes, which is a 3.4% increase from 2017. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 84 minutes in 2018. This means that more than 17 pedestrians were killed a day and almost 121 pedestrians died each week in car accidents.

Rate of pedestrian deathsPedestrian fatalities represented 17% of all people killed in car crashes in 2018. A substantial majority (89%) of the pedestrians killed in traffic crashes involved single vehicles in 2018, and (19%) involved hit-and-run motorists.

An estimated 75,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents in 2018, which is a 5.4% increase from 2017. Injured pedestrians made up 3% of the total number of people injured in car crashes.

Pedestrian Accident Victim Demographics

Pedestrians in their 50s were killed most often in car crashes. Of the 6,209 pedestrians killed in 2018 whose ages were known, 1,161 (18.7%) were aged 50 to 59. However, pedestrians in their 20s were estimated to be injured the most often, with approximately 14,000 (18.67%) of the 75,000 injured pedestrians belonging to this age group.

Number and percentage of pedestrians killed and injured by age group:Pedestrian injuries and deaths by age group More than two-thirds (4,363 of or 69%) of the 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2018 were male. In fact, 2.71 male pedestrians were killed per 100,000 men in the population, which is more than twice the rate for females (1.14 per 100,000). In every age group, injury rates per 100,000 population were greater for males than females.

When Pedestrian Accidents Occur

More than three-quarters of pedestrian traffic deaths occurred in the dark (76%), compared to 20% that occurred in daylight (20%), and 2% each in dusk and dawn.

NHTSA’s seasonal data for the time of day when fatal pedestrian accidents occurred in 2018 is summarized below.

When pedestrian accidents happen

Winter (January, February, and the Following December)

  • 35% occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • 17% occurred between 9 p.m and 12 a.m.

Spring (March To May)

  • 29% of fatalities occurred between 9 p.m and 12 a.m.
  • 19% of fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Summer (June To August)

  • 33% of fatalities occurred between 9 p.m and 12 a.m.
  • 17% of fatalities occurred between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Fall (September To November)

  • 32% of fatalities occurred between 6 p.m and 9 p.m.
  • 20% of fatalities occurred between 9 p.m and 12 a.m.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics by Location

Traffic accidents were much more likely to occur in urban areas (81%) than rural areas (19%) in 2018. NHTSA also reported that 17% of pedestrian crash deaths occurred in an intersection crosswalk.

Ten percent of pedestrian crash deaths occurred at non-intersections such as:

  • Roadsides
  • Shoulders
  • Parking lanes
  • Parking zones
  • Bicycle lanes
  • Sidewalks
  • Medians
  • Driveways
  • Multi-use trails

Throughout the states, the number of pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents was highest in:

  • California (893)
  • Florida (704)
  • Texas (612)

The states with the lowest number of fatalities were North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming, with 6 deaths each.Pedestrian fatality statistics by state When compared to total traffic fatalities, the percentages of pedestrian fatalities ranged from 5.1% of total fatalities in Maine to 35.9% in Hawaii. (The national average was 17.2%.)

The national average pedestrian fatality rate was 1.92 deaths per every 100,000 people.

The localities with the highest number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population were:

  • New Mexico (3.96)
  • Puerto Rico (3.63)
  • Louisiana (3.52)

The states with the lowest pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 population were:

  • Maine (0.52)
  • New Hampshire (0.66)
  • Rhode Island (0.66)

Alcohol Involvement in Pedestrian Accidents

Alcohol use in pedestrian fatalitiesNearly half (48%) of all traffic crashes in 2018 that caused at least one pedestrian fatality involved some alcohol use by the driver, the pedestrian, or both. Of the 2,977 fatal accidents that involved alcohol use, only 359 (12.1%) occurred when both the vehicle driver and the pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below the legal limit of 0.08%.

The remaining 2,618 (87.9%) fatal accidents involved a driver or a pedestrian who was legally intoxicated. In fact, approximately 33% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian with a BAC of 0.08% or greater, and about 16% of these fatal accidents involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a pedestrian-involved car crash, you may be entitled to receive compensation. Schedule a consultation with a local personal injury attorney to learn more.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>