pedestrian in crosswalk

Avoid becoming the victim of a negligent motorist. Learn how accidents involving pedestrians happen so you can prevent injuries to you and your family.

If you had to guess, how many pedestrians died from car accidents in 2004?

Got your guess?

Was it anywhere near 4,641?

What about the same question for injuries? About how many people would you guess were injured in car accidents in 2004?

It’s around 70,000.

Globally, pedestrian injuries from car accidents cost around $500 billion.

By the way, this data comes from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a part of the National Institute of Mental Health.

So, it’s pretty much as reliable as you can get.

Now, of those injuries and crashes, how many would you guess happen in the US?

Do we account for less or more than 50% of the total damage?

Well, recent data from the Association for Safe International Road Travel suggests that $230.6 billion of that $500 billion in damage happens here.

And an astounding 37,000 people die in car crashes in the US alone. Note that you can’t compare this number to the 4,641 mentioned earlier because that number refers to just the number of pedestrian deaths.

How Do Car-Pedestrian Accidents Happen?

Researches have been able to compile how these accidents happen based on all the data gathered over the years. Here’s some of the most common scenarios:

  • A hurried suburban mother books it to get out of the house and to work in the morning. However, her three-year-old sneaks out the front door and decides to play an innocent game of hide-and-seek by hiding behind her car.
  • An elderly fellow using a cane gets caught (legally) in a crosswalk, but doesn’t have the agility to dodge the oncoming speeding vehicle.
  • A college-age student has a few drinks and fails to see someone delivering pizza on a bicycle.

These are a few common scenarios, but hardly cover all possibilities.

Notice the risk factors? Here they are:

  • Being in a rush
  • Reduced attention (for varying reasons)
  • Inappropriately high speed for the situation

The Most Dangerous Driving Conditions

The research published at NIMH found the ideal conditions for a pedestrian accident:

  • Lack of daylight between 6 PM and 12 AM resulting in low visibility
  • Alcohol consumption by either the driver or pedestrian (40% of all pedestrian accidents involve alcohol use by the pedestrian compared to just 18% for drivers!)
  • ⅔ of all pedestrian injuries happen in urban areas
  • ¾ of pedestrian injuries happen outside of intersections
  • Pedestrian injuries are more severe and more frequently fatal in rural areas (though less frequent overall)
  • Children and older adults are more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents

A final, and little understood, factor that increases your likelihood to be involved in a pedestrian accident involves race. All non-Caucasian minorities are more likely to be victims in pedestrian accidents.


The current theory is that minorities may engage in more risky behavior and have lower awareness of these types of accidents, and lower-income families may not have the financial resources to supervise their children as well as they would like.

Now that you understand the data, you know how to keep yourself safe. While you can’t control what other people do, you can anticipate their behavior, maintain a defensive mindset, and possibly save yourself (or your family member) a serious injury.

Suggested Reading

How to avoid a serious pedestrian injury

How seniors can avoid becoming pedestrian accident victims

When can pedestrians recover compensation for injuries?

African-American kids ages 4-7 account for 47% of pedestrian fatalities

Scroll to Top