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Are pedestrian accidents really that common?

Pedestrians can be at risk when they're anywhere, even inside the home. Typically, pedestrian accidents involve people on sidewalks or crossing the road, but people can be injured by cars that crash into buildings or structures as well. For instance, if you were drinking coffee at a cafe near an intersection and a crash took place, it would be possible to be injured when the vehicle collides with the building. Because of a lack of protection against large vehicles, pedestrians who are struck are likely to be seriously injured or killed by the impact.

A 2012 study showed that 4,743 people in the U.S. were killed in traffic accidents that year. That may not seem like many when you consider how many people are in the United States and Iowa specifically, but another 76,000 were injured on top of that number. This problem is serious; there is a pedestrian accident resulting in death every two hours on average.

The people most at risk in these accidents are children and older adults. Children, who are quite small and still developing, may be more easily killed in these accidents. Those over the age of 65 accounted for 20 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2012.

Like in many traffic accidents, alcohol could sometimes be involved. In 48 percent of the cases where a pedestrian died, either the driver or the pedestrian was impaired by alcohol. The use of alcohol and those choosing to walk home when drunk may also help explain why pedestrian accidents most commonly take place in locations without intersections, at night and in urban areas.

There are some ways to make the roads and walkways safer for pedestrians. For instance, installing new crosswalks and sidewalks can give pedestrians safe places to cross the road or to walk without being in the road itself. When this isn't possible, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended walking against traffic, so you can see the vehicles headed your way.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Pedestrian Safety" accessed Mar. 05, 2015

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