There is a plethora of benefits associated with walking, including the physical/health aspect, but also personal, environmental, and social benefits. Walking can lead to more community engagement which can improve local economies and lead to more vibrant and livable areas, and even create cleaner, quieter, and safer streets.
Unfortunately, there were 6,516 pedestrians killed in the United States in 2020. This breaks down to 125 pedestrian deaths a week or 18 pedestrians a day. In 2020, a pedestrian was killed every 81 minutes and injured every 10 minutes.
In 2019, Florida had the second highest number of pedestrian fatalities – 713. California took the top spot with 972 pedestrian deaths and Texas came in third with 649 pedestrian deaths.
The numbers do not lie – pedestrian accident deaths are a huge problem in the U.S. Here are some more key statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- There were 6,205 pedestrian deaths in 2019, a 2.7% decrease from the 6,374 pedestrian deaths in 2018.
- In 2019, around 76,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic accidents, a 1% increase from the 75,000 pedestrian injuries in 2018.
- In 2019, a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes and injured every 7 minutes.
- In 2019, pedestrian deaths accounted for 17% of all traffic deaths.
Every person is a pedestrian at some point in time, so it is vital for everyone to understand the rules of the road for pedestrians and drivers. With Daylight Savings Time coming to an end, we will see it getting darker earlier, which only increases the risks for pedestrians. The majority of hit and run pedestrian accidents happen at night or during low-light hours.
Important Safety Reminders for Pedestrians:
- Walk on sidewalks or paths when they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk or path available to use, then walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.
- Do not become distracted by eating or texting or talking on a phone, or even listening to a podcast or music on your headphones. Do not let anything take your eyes or ears off the road.
- If you are walking somewhere at night, exercise extreme caution and never assume that a motorist can see you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you.
- Drivers expect to see pedestrians and crosswalks or intersections, so cross streets here whenever possible. If one is not available, then find a well-lighted area and pause for a gap in traffic that is a large enough window to allow you to cross the street safely. As you cross, always continue to watch for traffic.
- Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing during the day. At night, wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight
- Refrain from using drugs or alcohol when walking.
Important Safety Reminders for Drivers:
- Pedestrians could be anywhere, and they may not be walking where they should be or hard to see, so keep an eye out for them especially at night and in bad weather conditions
- You should always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Do not pass vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk as they may be stopped for pedestrians that you cannot see.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Follow the posted speed limits, and always slow down when pedestrians are present.
- Make sure you are focused when driving and slow down your speed in school zones and neighborhoods where there may be children present.