According to Smart Growth America (SGA), 4,192 people were killed while walking in Texas between 2003 and 2012. There were 34,107 traffic fatalities during that period, which means pedestrians accounted for 12.3 percent of those deaths. Unfortunately, Texas has the 10th most dangerous roads for pedestrians, according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI). Texas scores a PDI of 97.49. The PDI measures the likelihood of a person on foot being struck and killed by a vehicle. A higher score means there is a greater chance of this happening. Nationally, the PDI average was 52.2.
Do Pedestrian Deaths Increase with Higher Speeds?
As with any wreck, speed plays one of the biggest factors in the severity of a crash. Between 2003 and 2012, the SGA says, “71.5 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred on roadways with a speed limit of 40 mph or higher.” Compare that proportion to the number of fatalities that occurred on roads with slower speed limits:
- 0.5 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roads with a speed limit less than 30 mph.
- 0.7 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roads with a speed limit less than 20 mph.
Most roads in Texas are arterial roadways. Arterial roads are designed to move the most amount of traffic at a high rate of speed. It accounts for 32.5 percent of pedestrian deaths in our state.
SGA advocates for better road designs that factor in the safety of pedestrians as much as for vehicles. While this goal is laudable, it is important to note that a motorist is responsible for driving safely around pedestrians no matter how unsafe the design of a road might be.
Everyone has a right to the roads, and motorists should be respectful of that.
Did You Know? The Austin-Round Rock metro area ranks as the 24th most dangerous place for pedestrians in the U.S.