Pedestrians naturally have a greater risk of serious outcomes in accidents given their inherent lack of protection compared with the protection people in cars and other vehicles have. Factors such as limited street lighting may further increase pedestrian risks.
Even as more vehicles come equipped with safety features designed to detect pedestrians and avoid collisions, Virginia continues to experience a significant loss of pedestrian lives in accidents.
Pedestrian deaths spike in Virginia
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records indicate that pedestrians made up 9.8% of all vehicular fatalities in Virginia in 2009. That year, a total of 758 people died in automobile accidents statewide, 74 of which were pedestrians.
Five years later in 2014, 88 pedestrians lost their lives on Virginia roads, accounting for 12.5% of the state’s auto deaths. A slight dip in 2015 preceded a spike in 122 foot traffic deaths in 2016. Those deaths represented over 16% of Virginia’s total accident fatalities. In 2017 and 2018, 111 and 118 pedestrians lost their lives in crashes in Virginia, respectively. Pedestrians accounted for 13.2% of all fatalities in 2017 and 14.4% of all fatalities in 2018.
People over 65 at risk when on foot
Pedestrians of all ages experience challenges when navigating busy streets, but it seems that residents aged 65 or older have experienced a dramatic increase in deaths. A report by NBC12.com indicates that a total of 19 pedestrians in this age group sustained fatal injuries in crashes across Virginia in 2018. The following year, pedestrian fatalities among seniors jumped a whopping 95% with 37 such deaths.