What’s Behind The Dramatic Increase In Pedestrian Fatalities?


Most children are taught from a young age to look left, right, and left again before crossing the road.

This advice is perhaps more important than ever, as new reports indicate that pedestrian fatalities have increased sharply over the past decade. And it’s not just important for children, but anyone who walks, runs, bikes and crosses the street.

According to research by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, while all other traffic-related deaths decreased 14 percent. Pedestrian deaths have increased significantly and now make up for a larger proportion of traffic related deaths than they have in the past 33 years.

Why have pedestrian fatalities so dramatically increased?

The report mentions several potential contributing factors for this increase, including a rise in miles traveled, a boost in the time people spend walking, lower fuel prices, more drivers under the influence of marijuana, and a dramatic increase in distracted driving. Pedestrians and/or drivers under the influence of alcohol was reported in forty-six percent-nearly half-of traffic collisions that caused pedestrian deaths in 2016. Other contributing factors of pedestrian deaths include inadequate risk perception, reduced vision, limited mobility and limited pedestrian experience (in children).

Texas Pedestrian Fatality Statistics

How does Texas fare when it comes to pedestrian fatalities? There were 2.44 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 population in Texas in 2016. Texas is ranked number 9 among all 50 states.

New Mexico had the most fatalities, with 3.45 deaths per 100,000 population, and Nebraska had the least, with .68 deaths per 100,000 population.

Three Texas counties were listed among the 10 counties nationwide with the most pedestrian fatalities: Harris County, Dallas County, and Bexar County.

Eighty percent of pedestrian fatalities in Texas occurred after dark.

What Can Pedestrians Do To Stay Safe?

  • Pay attention after dark: Since most accidents happen after dark, wear reflective clothing, bring a flash light and pay extra attention when crossing the road in the dark.
  • Assume the driver cannot see you: Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the road and do not assume they will see you and stop for you.
  • Teach children the following pedestrian safety tips: Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street and continue looking until safely across; walk on sidewalks instead of the street; if there are no sidewalks, walk as far left as possible; and to be alert for cars that are turning or backing up, among others.
  • Be a safe driver: It is important for pedestrians to be cautious, but drivers have the ultimate responsibility to see and stop for pedestrians. As a driver, you should keep your eyes on the road, avoid distracted driving, obey right-of-way laws, yield to pedestrians, and obey the speed limit.

Free attorney consultation: Pedestrians who have been hit by a driver may be eligible for compensation. Talk to an attorney from Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-231-9360.