Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

by / Wednesday, 14 January 2015 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents

In the United States, a pedestrian is injured every 7 minutes and killed every 2 hours as the result of an accident with a car. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the NHTSA reveals 4,743 pedestrians in the united states were killed as a result of accidents involving cars in 2012, which was up by 6% from 2011. Since pedestrians are much smaller and have less protection to surround them as they walk, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than a passenger in a vehicle to be killed on a trip. So what are some of the most common causes for pedestrian accidents?


Pedestrian accidents are more likely to happen in urban areas than rural areas since there is a higher concentration of people out walking around. In 2012, 73% of all fatal pedestrian accidents happened in urban areas. The risk of a pedestrian accident skyrockets when pedestrians attempt crossing a road outside of an intersection. 70% of fatal pedestrian accidents happen outside of crosswalks and 20% happen in designated crosswalk areas.

Lack of Visibility

As visibility decreases, the risk of fatal pedestrian accidents increases. Fatal pedestrian accidents are statistically more likely to occur in the late afternoon or early evening because many people are still out on the road, but daylight may have diminished, reducing visibility. In 2012, 32% of all fatal pedestrian accidents happened between 8:00 PM and 11:59 PM. Pedestrian accidents are least likely to occur between 8:00 AM and 11:59 AM. Only 9% of fatal pedestrian accidents happened during this time on weekdays and 4% on weekends. If walking at dusk or after sunset, it’s important to wear reflective clothing or clothes that have lighter or brighter colors to make yourself more visible to drivers.


48% of fatal pedestrian accidents involved alcohol, but not necessarily just for the driver of the car. Just like alcohol makes it more risky to drive a car, it also makes it more risky to be a pedestrian since it slows reaction time and impairs judgement, making it more likely a person will cross a street outside of a crosswalk or walk into the road from in between parked cars. Of all pedestrians involved in a fatal accident in 2012, 34% of them had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. 14% of drivers involved in fatal pedestrian accidents had a BAC of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher.

Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians

Whether you’re a driver or a pedestrian, if you’re going to be out on the road, it’s important to be aware of everything that’s going on around you in order to keep yourself and other people safe. Trying to use a cell phone while driving is incredibly dangerous, but so can walking while trying to use a cell phone. NTT Docomo, a Japanese mobile technology company, estimates that when a pedestrian is looking down at a cell phone, their field of vision is reduced to just 5% of what it would normally be. A 2013 study of pedestrian accidents in New York City found 8% of injured pedestrians and cyclists were injured while using an electronic device like a cell phone or MP3 player, but that number was over 10% amongst pedestrians aged 7 to 17.


Weather has a strong connection to the number of accidents involving pedestrians and cars. Although the weather doesn’t necessarily directly cause pedestrian accidents, the frequency of them does have a tendency to go up on days with clear weather since more people are likely to be out and about when the weather is nice.Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents