Pedestrians – those who travel by foot, stroller, or wheelchair, are some of the most at-risk travelers on the nation’s roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2010, and another 70,000 pedestrians were injured. This averages out to one crash-related pedestrian fatality every 2 hours, and a pedestrian injury every eight minutes.
The risk of pedestrian death increases with age, although children are also at great risk of injury or death from traffic crashes because of their small size, relative inexperience in judging speed and distance, and general lack of knowledge of the rules of the road.
Common Causes of Incidents Involving Pedestrians
Pedestrians put themselves in danger of being hit if they:
- Fail to use designated crosswalks
- Rely on drivers to yield the right of way to them while turning
- Wear dark clothing at night, and don’t carry a flashlight
- Walk on the street with traffic instead of facing it
- Wear headphones, talk on their phones, or text while walking
Motorists can cause pedestrian injuries when they fail to come to a complete stop at a stop light, fail to stop before turning right at an intersection, crowd pedestrians on a road or street, drive too fast in residential areas, and drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to a report published by SafeKids.org, injury rates among pedestrians age 16 to 19 are up approximately 25 percent over the past five years, possibly for one very specific reason – distraction from the use of electronics and hand-held devices while walking. A recent nationwide study indicates that distracted walking is an alarming trend rivaling that of distracted driving, which resulted in the death of 3,328 motorists in the U.S. in 2012, according to Distraction.gov.