A February 2017 report issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals harrowing statistics on pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. The study compiled 2015 data.
You Might Be Stunned To Learn: Who Is a Pedestrian?
The study yields a surprising answer to this question: it’s not just walkers. It’s everyone who’s not in a car. That includes bicyclists of all ages, especially children, like this case where we helped a mother win what she thought was a losing battle. The data refers only to fatal accidents occurring on a road or highway. But that still leaves plenty of disturbing numbers to consider.
The Shocking Statistics: Pedestrians Are in Deadly Peril
The study concluded:
- In 2015, a shocking 5,376 pedestrians died in crashes, almost a 10 percent increase from 2014. It’s the highest since 1996.
- On average, a pedestrian died every 1.6 hours. One got hurt every 7½ minutes.
- Pedestrian deaths accounted for 15% of all crash fatalities nationwide. Of those, 123 were in South Carolina, 12.6% of all wrecks.
- Children are especially vulnerable. Over one-fifth of children 14 and younger who perished in traffic accidents were pedestrians.
- Alcohol is a huge factor—it’s involved in almost half of fatal pedestrian crashes.
- Almost one-fifth of these fatal crashes involved hit-and-run drivers.
In South Carolina, it gets worse. We're one of the most deadly states for pedestrians, according to a 2019 study.
Now let’s talk about how we can prevent this.
Safety Reminders for Pedestrians
The study offers some excellent points:
- Stay on the sidewalk or path if available. If not, walk on the shoulder (side of the road) facing traffic.
- Stay alert. Take off the headphones so you can live to listen later. And don’t look at your phone! You can’t count on drivers to see you first.
- Never assume a driver sees you, because he could be distracted, or driving under the influence, or just not see you. Make eye contact with drivers.
- Only cross the street at crosswalks or intersections—even if it means you have to “double back.” Drivers expect to see pedestrians there, not the middle of the road. If you have no choice, go to the best lit area, wait for a gap in traffic, and watch for traffic continually as you cross.
- Be visible, with bright clothes in the day and reflective materials or a flashlight at night.
- In case you missed it: avoid alcohol and drugs.
Now for the other half of the problem.
Safety Tips for Drivers to Avoid Hitting Pedestrians
The study gives some eye openers:
- Look for pedestrians everywhere, especially where you don’t expect them. Be aware they may be hard to see, especially as the sun goes down and in bad weather.
- Slow down and look for them, especially at crosswalks. Take those turns slowly. Understand pedestrians may be lost in their phones or their headphones.
- Always stop at the crosswalk. Never pass at the crosswalk—the car in front may be stopped for a pedestrian.
- Slow down around pedestrians.
- Where children may be present, like school zones and neighborhoods, have a laser focus and go especially slow. You just can’t predict where they’ll pop out.
- In case you missed it: don’t drive under the influence.
If You’re a Victim, You Have Rights
Pedestrians, including bike riders, have every bit as right to be safe as any motorist. If you get hit by a car, you can get your questions answered by filling out our Get Help Now form right on this page.
You can also find out more about your rights in our free report on car crash cases.