Elderly males and racial/ethnic minorities have higher traffic-related
pedestrian death rates than whites and younger persons, results from a
recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study show.
CDC analyzed 2001-2010 data from the National Vital Statistics System to determine traffic-related pedestrian death rates by sex, age group,
race/ethnicity, and urbanization level.
During 2001—2010, out of a total of 47,392 pedestrians that died
from traffic crashes,
- 32,873 were males
- 14,519 were females
Recent research has shown that on average, males and females walk similar
distances, and although males have a slightly higher risk for being involved
in a collision as a pedestrian, the observed differences have been found
largely driver by a higher case-fatality rate among males than females.
Some researchers have speculated that males demonstrate riskier pedestrian
behaviors or walk in more dangerous settings, but little research has
explored the differences by sex in pedestrian death rates.
Among the key findings, the study found that age related declines in cognitive
functioning, vision, and physical functioning might place older adult
pedestrians at greater risk for being struck by a vehicle. For example,
older adults take longer than young adults to cross roadways. Older adults
take fewer walking trips and walk, on average, fewer miles per year than
younger persons. However, when struck older adults are more likely than
younger adults to die from their injuries. Higher prevalence of chronic
disease, disability, and frailty among the elderly might contribute to these
higher case-fatality rates.
The national study results released in
April suggest that the pedestrian death rate could increase with the aging and
growing diversity of the U.S. population. The U.S. Census Bureau projects
that the number of persons age 75 and older will more than double from
approximately 18 million in 2011 to 44 million in 2040. Racial or ethnic
minority populations are projected to increase from 116 million in 2010
to 186 million in 2040. The CDC concluded that strategies to prevent pedestrian
deaths should include consideration of the needs of older adults and cultural
differences among racial/ethnic populations.
Approximately three fourths of all pedestrian deaths in 2010 occurred in
urban areas. Regardless of gender, those living in large central metro
areas generally had the highest pedestrian death rates.
The age-adjusted traffic-related pedestrian death rate overall was 1.58
deaths per 100,000 population. Males had a two and a half times higher
age-adjusted traffic-related pedestrian death rate than females. For males,
death rates were highest among those aged 85 and older, followed by those
aged 75-84. For females, death rates were highest among those aged 75-84,
followed by those aged 85 and older.
- Persons categorized as American Indian/Alaska Native [AI/AN] had the highest
traffic-related pedestrian death rates among both males (7.73) and females (2.22).
- Whites had the lowest pedestrian death rates for males and females (1.78
and .79, respectively).
- For males, Hispanics and blacks had the next highest death rates (3.93
and 3.73, respectively).
- For females, Asians/Pacific Islander had the second highest death rate
(1.46), followed by blacks (1.31) and Hispanics (1.27).
Research findings are mixed regarding why certain racial/ethnic minorities
have higher death rates. A 2006 report on U.S. traffic fatality data showed
that higher percentages of AI/AN pedestrian and pedal cyclists who died
in traffic crashes were intoxicated compared to other races or ethnicities.
But other research has shown that increased risks remain even after controlling
for lower socioeconomic status, increased exposure to traffic, and increased
use of alcohol. The CDC concluded that additional research is needed to
understand the factors that place certain racial/ethnic populations at
Study especially alarming for Florida drivers
CNN news report last summer ranked Florida as one of the top five states with the most recorded pedestrian
deaths. Florida had 487 deaths recorded. The only state that ranked higher
was California with 599 deaths.
The other three states were:
- Texas (345)
- New York (303)
- Arizona (146)
Pedestrian traffic regulations are laid out in Florida Statutes, section
316.130. If you or someone you know has been injured in a pedestrian traffic accident
due to a negligent driver, please