Research Rest Stop — Pedestrian Safety

Every Wednesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities presents a recent report or study that discusses transportation, energy, or sustainability related issues. 


A new report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examines pedestrian fatalities in traffic crashes.  The report analyzes 2010 accident data and shows a 4% increase of pedestrian fatalities compared with 2009, but this is a decrease of 13% compared with 2001.

Pedestrians Safely Cross the Street at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.

The report further analyzes the accidents to show that the majority (53%) of accidents occur during the late afternoon and evening and that nearly half (47%) of the accidents involved alcohol – the pedestrian, the driver, or both were under the influence.  The report does not include any information regarding distracted driving or distracted walking. 

Distracted walking or driving occurs when a person’s attention is focus on something other than getting where they need to go.  This occurs most often when cell phones, or other electronic devices vie for our attention. 

Cities across the country as well as the Department of Transportation have called attention to the risks of Distracted Driving and have promoted policies for hands free phones when driving.  Back in April, the City of Philadelphia introduced the ‘E-Lane’ – a segregated lane on the sidewalk for pedestrians focused on their phones. Although, the ‘E-Lane’ was a clever April Fools Joke, it brings attention to Distracted Walking, an important issue affecting traffic safety. 

In Philadelphia, a pedestrian is struck by an automobile every four hours, and in 2010, there were 31 pedestrian fatalities.  It can be tempting to try to identify who is at fault, but it is more important that everyone recognizes that cars, bikes, and pedestrians must share the road and that it is our responsibility to travel safely.  So please, keep the distractions down and pay attention to the street.

Want to know more?

Read the NHTSA Report: Traffic Safety Facts 

Visit for more information about distracted driving.


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