Factors Associated with Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in Virginia's Urban Areas 1985-1987: Final Report

Report No: 91-R30

Published in 1991

About the report:

Between 1985 and 1987, a total of 400 pedestrians were fatally injured in Virginia; more than half of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban area of the Commonwealth. Because little research had been conducted on urban pedestrian fatalities in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requested that the Virginia Transportation Research Council investigate the Commonwealth's urban pedestrian fatalities during the period 1985 to 1987. The purpose of the study was to identify situations and characteristics associated with urban pedestrian fatalities and, subsequently, to use the information to develop pedestrian safety measures. The study includes a literature review; an examination of accident reports of fatal pedestrian crashes occurring during the study period; and an analysis of pedestrian characteristics, driver actions, roadway and environmental factors, and vehicle factors present in the crashes. Overall, negligent pedestrian behavior contributed to urban pedestrian fatalities more than factors related to driver behavior, the roadway and environment at the crash site, or the vehicle itself. Alcohol use by the pedestrian was also found to be a major factor in urban pedestrian fatalities. High-risk periods are the end of the week and weekends, late afternoon to late evening, darkness, and fall and winter. Elderly pedestrians have greater difficulty negotiating complex situations and are more likely than younger persons to be fatally injured when struck by a vehicle. Across all age groups, males have a higher fatality rate.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Michael E. Worthington

Last updated: December 26, 2023

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