Deaths among Pedestrians in their 30s on the Rise as October’s Pedestrian Safety Month Begins
Nearly 25% of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes nationwide are over the age of 60, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, Virginia is seeing a rise in pedestrian fatalities among a younger demographic, pedestrians in their 30s.
So far this year, 89 pedestrians were killed in crashes, a decrease from 112 this time last year. While overall fatalities are on the decline, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is bringing public awareness to two statistics that are on the rise in an effort to help save lives. One quarter of Virginia pedestrians killed in traffic crashes this year were in their 30s, up from 10% this time last year (23 in 2023 vs. 11 in 2022). Of those fatal crashes nearly half involved a pedestrian who had been drinking alcohol. Overall, crash fatalities involving a pedestrian who had been drinking are up 52% from this time last year (32 in 2023 vs. 21 in 2022).
Over the past four years, the majority of fatal pedestrian crashes occurred in urban areas, after dark, and when the pedestrian was crossing improperly or walking in the road. As part of October’s Pedestrian Safety Month the DMV urges drivers and pedestrians alike to stay alert, especially at night.
“If you go for a night out on the town, always plan a safe way home,” said DMV Commissioner Gerald Lackey, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Call a licensed transportation service or designate a sober driver. Or, if you choose to walk, take the time to cross at an intersection, wait for the signal and make eye contact with the driver to make sure they plan to stop. Please walk safely and walk sober so you can arrive alive.”
DMV’s Pedestrian Safety Task Force works to reduce pedestrian-related crashes and strongly encourages pedestrians to follow these safety tips for walking smart:
- Be predictable, follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Plan a route with safe crossings.
- Avoid distractions, alcohol and drugs, and be alert.
- Wear reflective clothing and carry a blinking light or flashlight at night.
- Walk on sidewalks facing traffic. If there’s no sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far from traffic as possible.
- Watch for cars backing up, especially in parking lots and driveways.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections – where drivers expect pedestrians. While crossing, look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, and make eye contact with turning drivers before proceeding when possible.
To help promote the importance of pedestrian safety all year round, DMV encourages those interested to share these safety videos on social media or public-access television. You can find additional resources on our website.