Pedestrian Deaths Rise, Alcohol a Definite Factor

New statistics provide bad news if you're a male, drinking, and walking in a city.

Posted in News

— New statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show pedestrian fatalities across the nation rose by 4 percent in 2010.

A pedestrian is defined as any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down who is involved in a traffic crash.

The new report shows 4,280 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2010 – up from the 4,109 pedestrian deaths recorded in 2009.

The majority of pedestrian deaths in 2010 (73 percent) occurred in urban environments, with nearly 80 percent of these deaths taking place at non-intersections and almost 90 percent in clear weather.

Fully 68 percent of pedestrian deaths happened at night.

Researchers said the day and time of the week can make a difference.

Thirty percent of fatalities occurred in crashes between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Forty-eight percent of all fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The news wasn’t good for males. Almost 70 percent of those killed were males.

Pedestrians 65 and over accounted for 19 percent of all pedestrian fatalities and 11 percent of all pedestrians injured in 2010.

Almost one-fifth of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children age 15 and younger accounted for 7 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2010 and 23 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes.

Not surprisingly, alcohol played a large part in the accidents.

Alcohol was involved, either for the driver or for the pedestrian, in 47 percent of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. However, most of the problem was with impaired pedestrians, not drivers.

Of the pedestrians involved, 33 percent had a blood alcohol concentration at or higher than the legal limit.

Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, only 14 percent were at or higher than the legal limit.  In 6 percent of the crashes, both the driver and the pedestrian were impaired.

On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.