National Safety Council analysis of NHTSA pedestrian traffic fatality data show a general decline in the number of pedestrian fatalities from 1994 through 2009. Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities trended up sharply through 2016. 2017 showed a slight decrease, totaling 5,977 traffic-related deaths compared to 6,080 in 2016.

Looking at pedestrian fatalities as a percent of all traffic fatalities, the upward trend started several years earlier in 2005. In 2004, pedestrian fatalities accounted for 10.9% of all traffic fatalities, while in 2017 pedestrians accounted for 16.1% of all traffic deaths.

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While pedestrians accounted for 16% of traffic deaths in 2017, this percent varies by age. Pedestrians represent 20% or more of traffic deaths among 10- to 14-year-olds, and among 50- to 69-year-olds. The largest number of pedestrian deaths occur among 55- to 59-year-olds. While 5- to 9-year-olds experienced the fewest number of pedestrian deaths (47) in 2017, these deaths still represented 15% of all traffic deaths for this age group.

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Alcohol impairment was a factor in 43% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2017, accounting for 2,509 deaths. The pedestrian is the only impaired individual 26% of the time, the driver is the only individual impaired 10% of the time, while both the pedestrian and the driver are impaired 7% of the time.

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How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables

Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, March-Revised). Pedestrians: 2016 data. (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 493). Washington, DC: Nationa Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Because NHTSA pedestrian fatality data is limited to traffic crashes and does not include incidents occurring in driveways and parking lots, most pedestrians are struck by the front of the vehicle (84%). Only 1% of fatally injured pedestrians in traffic crashes are struck by the rear of the vehicle, while 3% are struck by the right side of the vehicle.

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How to Use Injury Facts® Charts and Tables

Source: NSC tabulations of NHTSA FARS data and National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, March-Revised). Pedestrians: 2016 data. (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 493). Washington DC: NHTSA.