Pedestrian Accidents Statistics in the U.S.

Each year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in pedestrian accidents. New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that not only does walking remain hazardous, it is becoming even more dangerous. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of pedestrians killed in crashes increased by 12.6%.

Key Findings from NHTSA Data

The report, entitled “Traffic Safety Facts 2021: Pedestrians,” describes the dangers facing pedestrians across America. Some of the key findings from the report include:

Total Fatalities Continue to Increase

NHTSA recorded 6,565 pedestrian fatalities in 2020. By 2021, that number increased to 7,388, the highest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1981. This number equals a pedestrian being struck and killed every 71 minutes in 2021. 

The National Center for Health Statistics estimated that over 9,000 pedestrians died in traffic and other accidents in 2022.

The National Safety Council (NSC) examined data from 2022 and found that 7,522 traffic-related pedestrian deaths occurred. This confirms the general upward trend of pedestrian fatalities over the past several years.

More Pedestrians Are Being Injured 

Along with the rise in pedestrian traffic deaths, more pedestrians are being injured in accidents. NHTSA’s report highlighted that 60,577 pedestrians were hurt in accidents in 2021, about one every nine minutes. That number was up 11% from the 54,771 pedestrians injured in 2020.

Hit-and-Run Accidents Are a Specific Problem for Pedestrians

Over 20% of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2021 were struck by hit-and-run drivers. In a hit-and-run accident pedestrian crash, the responsible driver flees the scene without calling for assistance. Unless someone is with the pedestrian or sees the accident, the pedestrian can suffer and pass away without ever receiving any medical aid. 

Hit-and-run accidents are also challenging for surviving family members seeking compensation for their loved one’s death. Unless the responsible party is identified and sued, surviving family members may never obtain justice or monetary damages for their loss.

Most Pedestrian Accidents Involve a Single Vehicle

Only about one out of every ten pedestrian fatality accidents involved two or more vehicles. Nearly 90% of all fatal pedestrian accidents were single-vehicle accidents. This dynamic can generally make it easier to prove liability since fewer people’s negligent actions could have contributed to the crash. 

Location and Time of Day of Pedestrian Accidents

The vast majority of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2021 occurred in urban areas at night and away from intersections, according to NHTSA. Only 16% of fatalities happened in rural areas, and 77% happened after dark. Only 4% of deaths occurred at dusk or dawn.

Some 75% of fatal pedestrian collisions happened away from intersections, such as along roads.

The NSC confirmed these trends, finding that in 2022, pedestrian accidents will continue to occur in urban settings, away from intersections, and after dark. Additionally, the data NSC examined revealed that most pedestrian accidents occurred on Saturdays and Fridays. The fewest pedestrian deaths at night occur on Wednesday nights.

Demographics and Other Information

In 2021, 70% of pedestrians killed were male, and 15% of all pedestrian fatalities were children 14 years old or younger. In nearly half of all fatal pedestrian crashes, alcohol was detected in the blood of the driver, the pedestrian, or both parties.

Top States for Pedestrian Fatalities

Not all states present the same risk of death to pedestrians. NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) recorded not only the states with the greatest number of pedestrian deaths in 2021 but also those states with the greatest pedestrian fatality rate based on population.

The states with the greatest raw number of pedestrian deaths included:

  • California: 1,108 deaths
  • Texas: 817 deaths
  • Florida: 817 deaths 
  • Georgia: 306 deaths
  • Arizona: 248 deaths

Rhode Island had only seven pedestrian deaths in 2021, the lowest of any state.

However, the states with the highest pedestrian fatality rates per 100,000 population were:

  • New Mexico: 4.82 fatality rate
  • Louisiana: 3.98 fatality rate
  • Florida: 3.75 fatality rate
  • South Carolina: 3.66 fatality rate
  • Arizona: 3.41 fatality rate

California was ninth on the list, with a pedestrian fatality rate of 2.82 per population of 100,000. The state with the lowest fatality rate was New Hampshire, with a fatality rate of only 0.58 per population of 100,000.

Interpreting the Data

Pedestrian collision accidents can happen anytime. However, NHTSA and NSC data show that pedestrians are more at risk of serious injury or death at certain times and locations. While pedestrians should always be alert when walking around traffic, they should exercise additional caution when:

  • Walking on the open road in urban settings
  • Walking at night
  • Walking on the weekends, especially after dark

Pedestrians in New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida should also exercise additional caution when walking along the roads. Additionally, the statistics show that men should take extra caution to avoid being involved in a pedestrian accident. 

Pedestrian Safety Is an Increasing Concern Across America

Walking along the road and near traffic has always presented some risk. However, recent statistics show that the danger is increasing each year. Reversing this trend and improving pedestrian safety will take more than encouraging pedestrians to exercise greater caution when near the road. This is not to say pedestrians are not responsible for their own safety. By recognizing the risk factors for serious and fatal pedestrian crashes, pedestrians can better protect themselves from harm.

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including cartruck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!