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Pedestrian Safety Frequently Asked Questions

Are pedestrian deaths and injuries a big problem?
Yes. In 2016 there were 761 traffic fatalities, and 121 of those – or almost 16 percent – were pedestrians. For a five-year period, from 2012 to 2016, pedestrian fatalities in Virginia ranged from 78 in 2013 to a high of 121 deaths in 2016. Nationally, thousands of pedestrians are injured or killed in traffic crashes every year in the United States.
Where do most pedestrian deaths occur?
Most pedestrian deaths occur at night, not at intersections, in Virginia’s large urban areas including northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond, in that order. For example, there were 205 pedestrian-involved crashes, 16 pedestrian deaths and 216 injuries in 2016 in Fairfax County.
Does alcohol impairment contribute to pedestrian deaths?
Yes. In 2016 in Virginia, one in three of the 121 fatalities involved drinking by the pedestrian.
Who is most at risk in terms of pedestrian fatalities?
Everyone who walks is at risk, but sometimes older pedestrians and young children need to be reminded of the rules of the road. The age group with the highest pedestrian-involved crashes in Virginia from 2014 to 2016 was 21 to 30, with 41 through 55 being the second highest.
How do most pedestrian fatalities occur?
Most pedestrian deaths occur at night on urban roadways, at non-intersections. Pedestrians and drivers are both at fault in about half of fatal crashes, and about 1 in 3 pedestrian fatalities were drinking.
What is the correct way to scan before crossing the street?
Always cross at crosswalks or intersections – where drivers expect pedestrians. While crossing, look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, and make eye contact with turning drivers before proceeding, when possible.
Turning vehicles can be especially dangerous at intersections. If there is no crosswalk or intersection, go to a well-lit area with the best view of traffic, wait until there is enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic while crossing.