When it comes to road safety, pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. We are all pedestrians, too. Every time you walk your dog, cross the street, or check your mailbox, you may encounter traffic. About 100 pedestrians are struck and killed in Maryland every year. Here we discuss this and other pedestrian crash statistics, as well as some of the most common risk factors contributing to these preventable fatalities.

Maryland Pedestrian Crashes

pedestrian crosswalk signPedestrian-involved crashes involve at least one motor vehicle and one person traveling on foot near a public road, whether they’re standing, walking, or running. This includes motorists getting out of their vehicles. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable in these cases, even when the vehicles involved are not traveling at high speeds. In Maryland, an average of 105 pedestrians died in crashes each year for the last five years.

In 2017, there were a total of 3,452 crashes involving pedestrians, 92% of which were injured or killed. Overall:

  • These crashes have a high fatality rate. There are far fewer pedestrian crashes each year than car crashes, but pedestrians often do not survive. One in five of all traffic fatalities in Maryland in 2017 was a pedestrian crash, claiming 109 lives.
  • Metropolitan areas such as Baltimore and the DC Metro are most dangerous for pedestrians. In recent years, these regional areas were the sites of 60% and 31.1% of pedestrian crashes, respectively.

Environmental Risks

In the Maryland DC area, population density clearly plays a role in the number of pedestrian crashes each year. This is true across the US, as well. This recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights this and other statistics regarding pedestrian deaths:

  • 76% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas.
  • 75% happened in the dark, 22% in daylight.
  • 72% occurred on the road at non-intersections. Only 18% occurred at intersections. (The remainder were on bike lanes, sidewalks, shoulders, and other non-road areas.)

Other Factors

The above NHTSA report also explored other demographic and behavioral considerations in these crashes:

  • Males are at risk. The majority of pedestrians killed in crashes were male. The same holds true in Maryland, where they’re most often the drivers and victims in these cases.
  • Fatalities are high in older populations. The highest fatality rates were in the 50-54 and 75-79 age groups.
  • Children are also at risk.  Although children under 5 and ages 5-9 had the smallest numbers of fatalities across all age groups, 20% of children killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
  • 48% of crashes killing pedestrians involved alcohol. At least 13% of these cases involved an impaired driver, and 33% involved an impaired pedestrian.

Look Up, Look Out

When you’re out and about, be sure to look up and look out!  Always cross at designated intersections and take an extra look both ways before you cross the road. Remember, pedestrian safety laws are in place to keep you safe, so you should adhere to them every time.