Avoiding Pedestrian Collisions

At crosswalks and intersections, near schools and shopping centers, in parking lots and along the rural road, pedestrians and motorized vehicles interact on a daily basis. 

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) most current data, there were 4,092 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes and another 59,000 injured in a single year – that’s more than 11 deaths and more than 161 trips to receive medical attention each calendar day of the year. 

Although deaths and injuries from ANY type of vehicle crash are serious, the number of pedestrian deaths compares to the number of deaths related to cell phone use (995/year per NHTSA) on a 4:1 basis (for every driver killed while talking on their cell, there were four pedestrians killed regardless of cell phone use or not).

Understanding why pedestrians and motorists get into crashes helps us understand what might be done to improve results.  NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have published some interesting facts about pedestrian deaths: 

  • 72% of the deaths occurred in urban settings (drivers should be extra careful in congested urban areas);
  • 76% occurred at non-intersections (pedestrians crossing the road where they might not have been expected);
  • 17% were “hit and run” collisions (where prompt notification of the authorities might possibly have saved a life);
  • 25% of the deaths occurred between 6 pm and 9 pm; and an additional 22% occurred between 9 pm and midnight (speeding at night reduces the “effective” illumination distance in front of the vehicle).

Ultimately, pedestrians and drivers each share responsibility to prevent these collisions. 

  • Pedestrians should use crosswalks, cross with the light, look before stepping into the roadway, wear light-colored (reflective if possible) clothing and carry a flashlight when walking between dusk and dawn. 
  • Additionally, drivers need to pay attention to their surroundings since pedestrians may appear from: between parked cars; behind view blocks; or in strange locations.  Drivers can be extra careful when driving near shopping areas, entertainment centers, sports fields, schools, transit stops, and any other area where pedestrians would be expected.

Each month, SafetyFirst publishes a “Ten-Minute Training Topic” to share with drivers, their families and even office workers who commute to work.  This is included in our driver safety hotline package at no extra cost.  

This month’s topic was on avoiding pedestrian collisions and included specific tips for commercial and non-professional drivers, too.  The package includes driver handouts, manager supplements, and power point slideshows.  Subscriptions to the monthly training packages are available for separate purchase if your fleet does not use a safety hotline service.

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