April 23, 2003

Children and seniors suffer highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in U.S.A.

Washington, D.C. – A recent research report by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that more than a fifth of all children ages 5 to 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. The age group with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities are those 70 and over.

“Clearly, some of the most vulnerable members of our society – the young and elderly – are often the victims of serious pedestrian crashes. And the involvement of alcohol in many of these fatal crashes makes them especially senseless,” said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.

Alcohol involvement among pedestrians in such crashes is 37 percent; for drivers, it is 18 percent.

The report also stated that nearly one in five pedestrians killed was the victim of a hit-and-run crash. Almost 175,000 pedestrians died on U.S. roadways between 1975 and 2001. Pedestrian fatalities now account for about 12 percent of all deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in the country.

The new NHTSA report analyzes the incidence of pedestrian fatalities in single vehicle crashes, which accounted for more than 90 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. The report focuses on pedestrian fatalities between 1998 and 2001.

Among the report’s key findings about pedestrian deaths are these:

  • 18 percent involve hit-and-run crashes.
  • 78 percent occur at non-intersections.
  • 44 percent occur on roadways without crosswalks.
  • 64 percent occur on urban roadways.
  • 63 percent of pedestrians killed are male.
  • 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • 46 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and midnight.

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