Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects the entire community; young and old, drivers and walkers, in the day and at night. Many unnecessary injuries and fatalities occur as a result of intoxication or inattentiveness of either the driver or the pedestrian. The roadways should be safe places for everyone regardless of their transportation mode. To reach this goal, laws related to pedestrian safety must be enforced without reservation, and citizens must be educated on the perils facing pedestrians and how they can help make the road a safer environment for those traveling by foot.
Maryland Fast Facts:
- Between 2006–2010, there was an average of 107 pedestrian (on foot) fatalities.
- Of the pedestrian fatalities, in the same time period, on average:
- 36% were impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both,
- Over 70% were male,
- 68% were on the road where there was no crosswalk, and
- police indicated on the crash report the pedestrian was at fault in 67% of the crashes.
- Total pedestrian crashes and pedestrian injuries have trended slightly downward over the last ten years. However pedestrian fatalities have remained on a flat trend line.
- Pedestrian fatalities represent 19% of all traffic fatalities statewide, on average.
- A crash involving a pedestrian is nearly six times as likely to produce a fatality as all traffic crashes statewide.
- On average, there are 2,800 pedestrian involved crashes in Maryland, resulting in 2,600 injuries and 100 fatalities each year.
- Pedestrian crashes, injuries and fatalities are clustered in the urban areas of the State in the Washington metropolitan and Baltimore metropolitan areas.
- Nearly 84% of all pedestrian crashes and 74% of all pedestrian fatalities occur in these areas.
- Pedestrian crashes are similar in distribution across the months of the year, compared to all crashes statewide. Slight increases in pedestrian crashes occur in the Spring and late Fall months. However, there is an increase in pedestrian fatalities in the months of October through December, compared to all crashes statewide. This is a time when there is less daylight, but weather is still moderate enough to accommodate most pedestrians.
- Friday is the peak day for total pedestrian crashes, and Saturday is the peak day for crashes that result in a pedestrian fatality. Early evening hours of 3pm to 8pm are the peak hours for total pedestrian crashes, and early morning hours are overrepresented in fatal pedestrian crashes.
- Pedestrians aged 10 to 15 are overrepresented in total pedestrian crashes and pedestrian injury crashes; older pedestrians aged 45-54 years are overrepresented in fatal pedestrian crashes.
- Male pedestrians are much more likely to be killed as a pedestrian. More than 70% of all pedestrians killed are male.
*Crash data source: State Highway Administration Safety Information Database
- There were 70,000 pedestrians injured and 4,280 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2010.
- On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 120 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes.
- Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or the pedestrian — was reported in 47% of all pedestrian fatalities.
These laws, along with explanatory diagrams, can be accessed at the link below: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/DOT/dir/pedsafety/documents/md_ped_law.pdf
The driver of a vehicle must stop for a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when:
- At crosswalks and intersections without signals:
- The pedestrian is on the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling.
- The pedestrian is approaching within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling.
- At intersections with signals:
- When proceeding on a green signal, drivers turning right or left shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within the crosswalk.
- When turning right on red after stopping, drivers shall yield the right of way to pedestrians lawfully within the crosswalk.
About Street Smart
Street Smart is an annual public education, awareness, and behavioral change campaign in the Washington, DC, suburban Maryland, and northern Virginia area. The campaign is dedicated to educating the public of pedestrian safety issues and encouraging safe travel by foot. The program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), and is supported by federal funds made available through state governments, and funding from some TPB member jurisdictions.
In Baltimore, Street Smart works toward their mission through broad-range media coverage as well as innovative marketing techniques that convey location-specific messages to high-incident communities. Information detailing the realities of pedestrian safety is brought to citizens' attention through radio and web-TV public safety announcements, coverage in blogs and websites such as DriveSafeBaltimore.com, electronic advertisements, and newspaper press releases. Roadside billboards and street banners remind travelers to share the road with pedestrians. Street Smart annually campaigns in Baltimore City, where over 30% of all pedestrian crashes occur.
For Pedestrians: Walk Smart
- Be predictable. Stay off freeways and restricted zones. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
- Crosswalks and traffic lights don't stop cars! The WALK signal does not mean it is safe to cross. It only means it is your turn to cross. Check to make sure all traffic has come to a stop before crossing.
- Look before stepping past stopped vehicles—They may be blocking your view of moving traffic.
- Wear bright clothes to be seen day or night. At night, wear reflective materials.
- Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
- Stand on the side of the road while waiting for the bus and always stand at least 10 feet away from where the bus will stop.
- Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person's ability to drive.
- Try to make eye contact with the driver(s) to make sure they see you before you begin to cross
For Drivers: Do Your Part
- Always come to a complete stop at the stop line.
- Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.
- When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that "gap," pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
- Be extra attentive and slow down in school and work zones where increased pedestrian presence is likely.
- Keep your windshield clean for maximum visibility.
Resources & Links
- NHTSA Injury Prevention-Pedestrian Safety
- Safe Routes to School Program
- Perils for Pedestrians Video Magazine
- Pedestrian Information Center's "Walkability Checklist" for communities
- Safe Kids Pedestrian Safety