Government releases data on pedestrian deaths in car accidents

Walking around in a large metropolis like Chicago can present many dangers for pedestrians. While many cities have made efforts to become more pedestrian-friendly in recent years, tens of thousands of people still suffer injuries every year. According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 70,000 people on foot were injured in car crashes in 2010. An additional 4,280 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents.

For years there has been an ongoing dialogue about the role of cellphones and other electronic devices in car accidents. But that discussion has recently grown to incorporate pedestrians’ usage of those handheld technologies. Traffic authorities are cautioning people to pay attention to their surroundings and avoid becoming transfixed by their cellphones when they are out walking around.

Yet drivers owe a duty of responsibility to watch out for pedestrians, cyclists and others who share the roads with them. And the statistics show that drivers bear some of the fault for pedestrian injuries and deaths. In nearly half of all the fatal accidents in 2010, drivers or pedestrians had alcohol in their systems. In addition, 68 percent of the deaths occurred after dark, a time when drivers must take extra care to watch for people in their path.

The number of pedestrian deaths in 2010 represented a 13 percent drop from figures gathered in 2001. Even so, when spread out over the course of a year, pedestrians died in a crash on average at two-hour intervals. One-fifth of the fatalities happened at intersections.

Source:, “Pedestrian fatalities up 4 percent in 2010; non-intersection crossings most deadly,” Jim Barnett, Aug. 7, 2012.