Monday, January 31, 2011

NHTSA Releases 2009 Pedestrian Fatality/Injury Statistics

In its early release of its (ironically named) Traffic Safety Facts 2009 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a trove of gloomy, if enlightening, statistics on pedestrian deaths and injuries in the US. Here's some of the info I found most interesting. All data comes from the NHTSA.

2009 Traffic Fatalities

You can see from this data that pedestrians constituted a pretty high percentage of the people killed in traffic crashes in 2009. It's hard to know if pedestrian deaths are disproportionately high, though, because we don't have good data about what percentage of trips are taken on foot.

2009 Traffic Injuries

This chart shows traffic injuries from crashes in 2009. What I wanted to point out here was the significantly lower number of pedestrians injured compared to the number killed. It almost sounds like good news, until you realize this discrepancy probably means that pedestrians are more likely to be killed than injured in traffic crashes. 
2009 Pedestrian Fatalities by Age

Here you can see how younger pedestrians, and to some extent older pedestrians, are disproportionately represented in pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes. This is especially true for children under nine.

Cause of Crashes with Pedestrian Fatalities
(Click on the Chart to Enlarge)

And in case you were wondering what causes all those pedestrian fatalities, here is a rundown of the various "related factors" to pedestrian deaths in traffic crashes. (I'm assuming that this data only includes crashes where the pedestrian was found to be at fault, as there is no mention of driver-related factors). What I found interesting here was that despite all the hoopla about the dangers of walking and talking on cell phones, portable electronic devices account for only 0.3 percent of pedestrian deaths.

On a final statistical note: it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6 pm and midnight (when people are out walking around in the dark). But, nearly as dangerous are the hours of 6 to 9 am and 3 to 6 pm--on weekdays that is. On weekends, deaths during all daylight hours are relatively low. So what happens during those weekday hours that lead to so many pedestrian deaths? School. Yup, those are precisely the hours that kids are walking to and from their place of education. Yet one more reason that safe routes to school are so important.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Katie, but neither the police or emergency rooms are required to ascertain whether electronics are involved in injuries and fatalities. Addtionally, techno-distracted pedestrians may be remiss in confessing to their usage and self-victimizing. What isn't "hoopla" is that pedestrian distractedness statistics have quadrupled in the last seven years and will likely continue to mount with affordability and prevalence. Many thanks for your reportage. Best, Blair Sorrel, Founder,