- Children aged 5 through 9 years: Children often walk to school or in their neighborhoods, and if they are not properly educated and trained in pedestrian safety, they are at high risk for accidents. Children should especially be educated on how and when to cross streets.
- Adults aged 65 and older: Older adults are more susceptible to losing their footing on uneven sidewalks or accidently stepping off curbs, often causing broken bones, sprains, or head injuries. Elderly adults also may often move slower when crossing streets.
- Pedestrians under the influence of alcohol: Just as alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment and reaction time, it also impairs a pedestrian’s judgment and reaction time. Drunken pedestrians may underestimate the speed of vehicles or misjudge the time they have to cross a street. Furthermore, intoxicated pedestrians may lose their balance and suffer from falling accidents.
Walking is a popular form of transportation for many reasons. Walking saves money, provides exercise, and helps the environment. Many Americans may also believe that walking is a safer form of transportation than riding a bicycle or driving a motor vehicle, however that is not necessarily the case. Statistics show that pedestrians may be 1.5 times more likely to suffer injuries on each trip than passengers or drivers of motor vehicles. In fact, the Injury Prevention and Control division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reports that in 2010, 70,000 pedestrians suffered injuries in accidents and an additional 4,280 pedestrians were killed in accidents. This means that one pedestrian was injured on average every eight minutes, and one pedestrian died in an accident once every two hours.These numbers are not insignificant, and the CDC considers pedestrian accidents to be a public safety issue for the United States. The CDC spends money, time, and energy researching the circumstances surrounding pedestrian accidents, compiling data to find common scenarios, and designing educational materials for both children and adults to help prevent pedestrian accidents and injuries. The CDC also works to determine the demographic groups of pedestrians who are the most vulnerable to accidents, injuries, or death. Researchers have identified especially high risk groups as: