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How vehicle speed impacts pedestrian outcome after a crash

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Pedestrians often suffer severe injuries if they get hit by a motor vehicle while out for a walk. Numerous different factors influence the likelihood of a pedestrian getting into a crash, including distraction, chemical impairment and time of day. It is more dangerous to walk near motor vehicles after dark, for example, than it is during the middle of the day.

When pedestrian collisions do occur, the speed of the motor vehicle involved plays a major role in how severe the outcome is for the pedestrian. Trying to prioritize walking in places where vehicles travel at lower speeds could potentially save your life.

The faster the vehicle, the greater the risk to the pedestrian

It’s common sense that the higher the speed of the vehicle at the time of a pedestrian crash, the worse the injuries for the pedestrian will be. The speed of the vehicle has a direct correlation with a pedestrian’s likelihood of suffering serious injuries in a crash.

Only 10% of pedestrians get seriously when a vehicle travels at 16 miles per hour (mph). That injury rate increases to 25% when the speed increases to 23 mph and surges up to 50% when vehicle speeds hit 31 mph. At 39 mph, 75% of pedestrians struck will suffer serious injuries, with a full 90% suffering major injuries at speed of 46 mph.

Fatality rates for pedestrian crashes also increase with vehicle speed. There’s a 10% risk of a pedestrian death at speeds of 23 mph. Death rates increase to 50% for vehicles traveling at 42 mph and 90% once a vehicle’s speed hits 58 mph.

Even good choices can’t protect you from drivers that make bad ones

You may have always limited your jogging route to your residential neighborhood so that you only pass vehicles traveling at slower, safer speeds.

Unfortunately, your attempt to harm reduction can’t protect you from other people choosing to break the rules. Drivers exceeding the posted speed limit not only create risk for other drivers but also for pedestrians, who are more likely to suffer severe injury or death in a crash with a vehicle driving at high speeds.

Identifying what risk factors you can minimize can help you stay safer as a pedestrian. Knowing your rights can help you take action if you do get hurt in a crash caused by a motor vehicle.