Generally speaking, fatalities related to car accidents have risen slightly in the past few years after several decades of declining figures. Slight increases in motorcycle fatalities, bicycle fatalities, and pedestrian deaths are largely responsible for this noticeable uptick in roadway deaths in America.
When it comes to pedestrian fatalities, you might be surprised to learn exactly which demographics are being most affected. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian accident, it would definitely be worth your while to consult with experienced pedestrian accident attorneys in the Dallas area. Attorneys like those at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare can advocate for you and your right to damages for covering hospital bills, physical therapy, and more.
Age and Gender of Pedestrian Deaths
The overall death rate affecting pedestrians is down considerably since 1975 when officials began keeping accurate records. Analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people was reduced by nearly 51% between the years 1975 and 2015. The most significant decline in this death rate was centered around senior citizens and the older community of pedestrians.
In the year 1975, when the United States had a much lower population and drivers logged far fewer miles per year, there were approximately 1,700 pedestrian children below the age of 13 who were killed.
For the most recent year that data is available, that number had plummeted to just 186, which is a tremendous decline. Also, in the year 1975, there were approximately 800 teenage pedestrians who were struck fatally, but by 2015, that figure had been reduced to just 270.
From this, it can be seen that children are much less likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident today. The largest increase in fatalities has come in the group of individuals aged between 20 and 69 years old, with this figure increasing every single year since 2008.
With regard to gender, statistics bear out the fact that most pedestrian fatalities are male, and this is something that has not changed in the last 40 years. In 1975 approximately 70% of all pedestrians killed were male, and in 2015, again, it was approximately 70% that were male fatalities.
Time and Place of Pedestrian Deaths
It’s also interesting to note that most of these pedestrian fatalities occur on Friday nights and Saturday nights, which means individuals being killed are likely not commuters.
It should come as no surprise that most fatalities also occur in an urban setting, with 76% happening in metro areas as opposed to just 24% happening well outside the city limits.
What you might find really interesting about pedestrian fatalities today are the specific locations in which most of the accidents occur. Only about 26% of all accidents involving pedestrian fatalities actually occur at intersections, which are normally the busiest areas on roadways.
Whereas most people might guess that the majority of pedestrians would be injured or killed at crowded city centers, the actual preponderance of pedestrian fatalities occurs on roadways where the speed limit is at least 55 miles per hour and usually greater than that. By contrast, city speed limits are generally 35 miles per hour or lower. Surprisingly, less than one pedestrian out of five is killed along city roadways or at city intersections.
Pedestrian Fatalities and Alcohol
You might think that pedestrian fatalities are caused by reckless drivers who do not yield to a pedestrian with the right of way.
However, in at least half the cases where pedestrians are killed at night, they are legally considered to be drunk, having a blood-alcohol level of at least .08, and in many cases higher than that.
Furthermore, a full 25% of all pedestrians killed during daylight hours are also drunk.
When you add up all the statistics, you’ll find that more than one-third of all pedestrian fatalities involve individuals who could legally be classified as inebriated. This should tell you that it’s not always so black and white that the driver may be at fault. In at least one out of three cases, it’s the pedestrian who has failed to observe roadway protocols and has exposed him/herself to danger.
Other Situations Where Fatalities Occur
One particularly dangerous situation for pedestrians is when vehicles are making left-hand turns. In these situations, three times as many people get injured by vehicles turning left than by those turning right, simply because both parties are looking in different directions; drivers are focused on the intersection in the street, whereas pedestrians are concentrating on looking straight ahead.
Distracted Pedestrians or Drivers
Another significant cause of pedestrian fatalities is when pedestrians or drivers are distracted and less aware of their immediate surroundings. Listening to music, texting, talking on the phone, or doing anything other than driving or walking can increase the chance that an accident will occur.
Exiting a Vehicle on the Side of the Road
A fair number of pedestrian fatalities occur as drivers are exiting their vehicles on the roadway side. It’s a vulnerable position, especially in high traffic areas. Dark clothing can make this problem even worse by decreasing the pedestrian’s visibility to drivers in early morning or late evening hours.