Pedestrian Safety Facts

Pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable to inattentive, impaired, or negligent drivers. Pedestrian accidents can be devastating, causing numerous injuries and deaths every year in New Jersey. Here’s a quick look at the nationwide statistics for pedestrian-involved traffic accidents:

By the Numbers

More than 4,700 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2012, and another 76,000 suffered injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. On average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every 7 minutes and one is killed every 2 hours. The 4,743 pedestrians killed in 2012 represented the highest number of fatalities in the last five years, and it marked an increase of 6 percent from 2011.

Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2012 and 3 percent of all injuries. As these numbers show, pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to fatal injuries from traffic accidents; while pedestrians account for only 3 percent of all car accident-related crashes, they accounted for 14 percent of all 33,561 traffic fatalities in 2012, showing how fatal pedestrian-involved crashes can truly be.

Time and Place

The majority (73 percent) of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban settings in 2012, and more than two-thirds (70 percent) occurred at non-intersection locations. The vast majority of fatal pedestrian accidents (89 percent) occurred in normal weather conditions, with only 11 percent occurring in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. Approximately 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night (between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.), compared to 30 percent in the daytime.

Approximately 32 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Whether during the week or on the weekend, the hours between 8 p.m. and midnight produced the most pedestrian fatalities (28 percent on weekdays and 37 percent on weekends).


While making up only 14 percent of country’s population, pedestrians age 65 and older accounted for 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities and approximately 9 percent of pedestrian injuries in 2012. The fatality rate was the highest for older pedestrians (2.17 per 100,000 population for ages 65 and over), and starting at age 45, the fatality rates were generally higher than younger age groups.

The average age of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2012 was 46, and the average age of injured pedestrians was 35. This represents a steady increase in the average age of injured pedestrians, which has been on the rise for the past decade. The three age groups most likely to suffer injuries as pedestrians are the 21-24 age group, the 16-20 age group, and the 10-15 age group.

Of all children between 5 and 15 years old who were killed in traffic crashes in 2012, more than 20 percent were pedestrians. Approximately 6 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 18 percent of injuries occurred to children age 15 and younger.

Alcohol Involvement

Nearly half (48 percent) of accidents resulting in pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol. Of all pedestrians involved in fatal crashes, 34 percent had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, and of the drivers involved in the fatal crashes, only 14 percent had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.