NHTSA Declares October National Pedestrian Month

Car scanning pedestrians.
Credit: Volvo.
October kicks off the first-ever National Pedestrian Safety Month. It’s part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s continuing efforts to improve safety for vulnerable road users.

“With this designation of October as Pedestrian Safety Month, the Department is affirming its commitment to working closely with our state and local partners to make our roads safer for pedestrians,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

According to NHTSA data available from 2018:

  • In 2018, there were 6,283 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the U.S., a 3.4-percent increase over 2017 figures.
  • Pedestrian deaths accounted for 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018.
  • More pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas (81%) than rural areas (19%) in 2018.
  • Twenty-six percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6 to 8:59 p.m. in 2018.
  • Nearly 1 of every 5 pedestrians killed in 2018 (19%) were struck in crashes that involved hit-and-run drivers.
  • Alcohol involvement – for the driver and/or the pedestrian – was reported in 48 percent of all fatal pedestrian crashes in 2018.

“At some point in the day, we are all pedestrians – especially right now, when everyone wants to get outside for some fresh air,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. “Everyone has a role to play in ensuring pedestrian safety. We must keep working to reduce pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes and this first-ever Pedestrian Safety Month will help save lives in communities across the country.”

Each week of the month, NHTSA will highlight dangerous driving behaviors that put pedestrians at risk, as well as ways to improve pedestrian safety. You can find NHTSA- developed resources for states and local communities here.

Earlier this summer, the Department brought together safety advocates and stakeholders for the USDOT Summit on Pedestrian Safety, a multi-event series focused on reducing pedestrian fatalities and improving pedestrian access.

NHTSA says it will soon be conducting its third National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors, which will help inform and guide future policy and countermeasure decisions. This survey studies how much people are walking and biking, and their understanding of and opinions on traffic laws, infrastructure, and safety.

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