Pedestrians Hit By Cars, What Are The Statistics?

In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in crashes with motor vehicles (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts).  This means more than 12 people every day of the year.  The numbers of pedestrian deaths have fallen from 4,901 in 2001 to 4,735 in 2013, there still were 66,000 reported pedestrian injuries in 2013.  This means nearly one injury every 8 minutes. Pedestrian injuries had been going down in the past 20 years but slightly started to increase in 2013.   However it is hard to tell the exact statistics because only a fraction of injuries caused by pedestrian crashes are ever recorded by the police.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • Pedestrian deaths in 2001: 4,901 v. deaths in 2013 4,735
  • Reduction in pedestrian fatalities between 2001 and 2013: 3.4 percent
  • Pedestrian injuries in 2001: 78,000 v. 2013  66,000
  • Reduction in pedestrian injuries between 2001 and 2013: 15.4 percent
  • According to the Pedestrian and Pedalcyclist Injury Costs in the United States by Age and Injury Severity, the total cost of pedestrian injury amount ages 14 and younger is $5.2 billion per year

Is walking more dangerous than other modes of travel?

As with every mode of travel, there is clearly some risk associated with walking. However, walking is a healthy and pretty safe mode of transportation  for tens of millions of people each year. The public health community has stated that lack of physical activity, and a decline in bicycling and walking in particular, contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths by heart attacks and strokes.

Is walking getting safer?

A reduction in fatalities of more than 3 percent since 2001 certainly looks promising, but without a better understanding of how many people are walking, where they are walking, and how far/often they are walking, it is difficult to determine if safety improvements are truly being made. A reduction in pedestrian crashes could be attributed to fewer people walking in general, or to improvements in facilities, law enforcement, education, and behavior that are really leading to more people walking and to fewer pedestrian fatalities.

Causes of injury

According to the 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, inadequate facilities are the leading cause of pedestrian injury.

The following are percentages found in the 2012 survey concerning the top 6 frequent sources of injury by a pedestrian

  1. Tripped on an uneven or cracked sidewalk 24%
  2. Tripped or fell 17%
  3. Hit by a car 12%
  4. Accidents when wildlife or pets involved 6%
  5. Tripped on a stone 5%
  6. Stepped in a hold 5%

Who is getting killed in pedestrian crashes?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety facts are:

    • 69 percent of pedestrian killed in 2012 and 2013 were male.
    • Almost 3 out of every 4 pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas or about 73%
    • More than 26 percent% of all pedestrian deaths occurred between 6 and 8:59 p.m. (hmmm, rush hour maybe?)
    • 46 is the average age of pedestrians killed in 2012 and 2013, and 36 is the average age of those injured in 2013.
    • 34% of pedestrians killed had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
    • 15 % of drivers in a pedestrian crash had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 g/dL or higher.
    • California (701), Florida (501), and Texas (480) lead the nation in total pedestrian fatalities.

Please be careful out there if you are walking.  In California, people are used to walking in front of vehicles and having them stop but sometime the driver is unaware and can hit you.  Remember how you were taught to cross the street as a kid, look both ways and don’t walk in front of a car that is coming toward you.  Be safe out there!


1. Allison, David B., Kevin R. Fontaine, JoAnn E. Manson, June Stevens, Theodore B. VanItallie, and Ali H. Mokdad. Annual Deaths Attributable to Obesity in the United States, JAMA. 1999; 282:1530-1538. Vol. 293 No. 3, January 19, 2005.