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Pedestrian Safety

  • Since 2000, an average of 355 unintentional pedestrian fatalities among children
  • ages 14 and under have occurred each year.  
  • In 2009, 244 pedestrian fatalities among children ages 14 and under occurred
  • Since 2001, an average of more than 15,500 children ages 14 and under were nonfatally injured as pedestrians each year.               
  •  In 2009, approximately 13,000 child pedestrians were nonfatally injured in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Between 2000 and 2009, the number of child pedestrian fatalities decreased by 49 percent.
  • The maturity level of a child under 10 years of age makes him or her less able to correctly gauge road dangers and renders him or her at greater risk for injury and death.       

When, Where and How

  • Other than in the street, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks are the locations where young children under 3 years of age suffer the highest number of injuries as pedestrians.
  • Almost 50 percent of nonfatal backover injuries among children ages 1 to 14 occur at home.
  • Seventy-four percent of child pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersection locations.  
  • Forty-two percent of child pedestrian deaths occur between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m.
  • In 2009, 13 child pedestrians (ages 15 and under) were killed by school bus-related crashes.
  • Children in low-income, densely populated, urban residential areas are at a substantially higher risk of pedestrian-related injury.   
  • Part of the decline in pedestrian injuries could be a result of the drastic reduction in children walking to school. From 1969 to 2009, the percentage of children walking to school dropped from approximately 50 percent to 13 percent.


  • In 2009, almost two-thirds of childhood pedestrian-related deaths occurred to males.   
  • Children in lower-income neighborhoods were 3.5 to 5.7 times more likely to be injured as pedestrians than children in other neighborhoods.
  • In 2007, vehicle backovers killed an estimated 103 children ages 4 and under.  Among children ages 5 to 10, 13 children were killed.  Among children between the ages of 10 and 19, 4 were killed.
  • Four out of five driveway-related incidents occur to children ages 4 and under.
  • Parents of children who suffer from a pedestrian-related injury are three times less likely to practice other preventive behaviors and are more likely to be single parents, young mothers or both.     

Proven Interventions

  • Policies that increase the number of people walking and bicycling appears to be an effective method for improving the safety of people walking and bicycling.   
  • Traffic calming interventions such as speed bumps have been shown to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians.
  • Parental or adult supervision of children near the road is essential.  


  • In 2005, the total lifetime cost of motor vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities among children ages 14 and under was approximately $711 million.
  • In 2005, the total lifetime cost of nonfatal motor vehicle-related pedestrian injuries among children ages 14 and under requiring hospitalization resulted in a total lifetime cost of $566 million.
  • In 2005, the total lifetime cost of nonfatal motor vehicle-related pedestrian injuries among children ages 14 and under treated and released from the emergency department was approximately $86 million.

Laws and Regulations

In 2005, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEALU) was signed into law. This federal law included the establishment of Safe Routes to School, a federal government-funded program designed to make it safer for children to walk or bike to school. Through this program, states could, for example, fix sidewalks, execute traffic calming and speed reduction measures, improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings and conduct public education campaigns to encourage walking and biking to school.  Currently, government funding for this law has been extended through March of 2012.   

State and local laws created to protect child pedestrians include:

  • Lower speed limits in residential areas
  • Protection of pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Providing pedestrian walkways
  • Prohibition of vehicles from passing school buses while loading and unloading passengers
  • Providing crossing guards and requiring pedestrians to not cross streets at locations other than designated crosswalks. 
Led by Northeast Georgia Medical Center and funded by The Medical Center Foundation's Healthy Journey Campaign
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