Examining the Characteristics of Fatal Pedestrian Crashes

Pedestrian safety has become a strategic priority for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) over the past two years. In Utah, pedestrians make up over 12% of total roadway fatalities while less than 2% of all trips are taken on foot. This over-representation of risk led to the creation of the Utah Pedestrian Safety Action Plan in 2015. Several of the goals in that plan speak directly to improving methods for collecting data regarding pedestrian crashes. One major drawback in current reporting is that there is little consistency across or even within jurisdictions in what is included about a pedestrian on a crash report. The level of detail for a motorist involved in a crash is relatively standard, however it is up to the responding officer to decide what is included on the crash form about the pedestrian. By conducting a detailed evaluation of crash reports for 119 fatal pedestrian crashes (2012-2014) and analyzing additional data for all pedestrian crashes (2006-2015) this research seeks to improve UDOT's understanding of pedestrian crashes resulting in a fatality. Findings include that a large majority of crash reports include at least one and often more coding errors. Up to 15% of reports from fatal pedestrian crashes have absolutely no narrative of what occurred. Additional analysis identified a profile for a typical fatal pedestrian crash. Fatal crashes are most likely to occur in the early spring or late fall in lower light conditions when visibility is already limited, potentially in bad weather when a wide road is wet or icy. These crashes involve a pedestrian who may be impaired, participating in illegal and unpredictable behaviors such as improper crossing or wearing clothing that is not visible. Drivers are most likely to be impaired or distracted, and speeding straight ahead. Recommendations include conducting a thorough evaluation of current crash report procedures and forms; conducting trainings for law enforcement on how to accurately report on pedestrian crashes; and continue existing education programs on pedestrian safety.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 62p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01666501
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UT-16.14
  • Contract Numbers: 168319
  • Created Date: Mar 15 2018 9:53AM