2018 Pedestrian-Traffic Accident Statistics in the State of Texas

Pedestrian-traffic fatalities have increased dramatically since 2010 when there were only 273 on record for the state of Texas. The number of fatalities has more than doubled in less than a decade. In Texas in 2018 there were 7908 total pedestrian accidents, including non-fatality and fatality accidents. 2018 is one of the  worst years on record for pedestrian accidents and for fatalities related to these accidents. Though, there is some hope for improvement being that 2016 actually is the worst year on record so far, as shown below.

Pedestrian Death Statistics

Table 1

Pedestrian Accidents in Texas by Year

YearCount
20187,903
20178,051
20168,213
20157,690
20147,270
20137,086
20126,888
20115,799
20105,789

 

Table 2

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents in Texas by Year

Year Count
2018643
2017629
2016711
2015581
2014512
2013507
2012507
2011455
2010273

643 or 8% of the total 7,908 pedestrian accidents in Texas during 2018 resulted in fatalities. 207 pedestrian accidents involved commercial motor vehicles, and 52 of these accidents resulted in a fatality. About 25% of all commercial vehicle accidents involving pedestrians resulted in a death, which is 3X higher than the death-rate number for pedestrian accidents and all vehicle types as a whole in Texas in 2018. It is important to note that larger vehicles are much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries, especially when a pedestrian is involved. This explains the higher percentage of deaths that involve commercial vehicles which are almost exclusively large trucks. SUVs and trucks continue to become heavier and more deadly by the year. And, physics tells us the heavy vehicles are more likely to cause heavy damage when they collide with pedestrians and other vehicles.

What’s behind the increase in pedestrian accidents and deaths?

The average size and weight of vehicles on the roads has increased since 2010 as well as the distractions of modern life, particularly cell phone usage. The amount of time cell phones are used while people drive SUVs in ever greater number has increased exponentially since the years prior to 2010. So, the level of distraction and the amount of time spent distracted is much higher than ever before. The population has also grown over this time, increasing the density of pedestrians and automobiles.

Pedestrians can also act with error and poor judgment, along with drivers.

2,047 of the 2018 pedestrian accidents in Texas were those involving pedestrians that failed to yield right of way to vehicles, which indicates that 25% of the pedestrians involved in an accident acted in a manner which improved their chances of being in such an accident and may have even been the primary cause. These accidents often involve pedestrians that are:

  • Distracted by phones and electronics
  • Engaged in other types of distractions (perhaps other people including children)
  • Unable to hear traffic because of headphones
  • That fail to obey traffic signals and laws
  • Attempting to cross or use busy roadways in areas not designated or designed for walking

Many roadways in Texas are not designed to accommodate pedestrians. In smaller towns and rural areas these are also likely to present a problem for pedestrians who need to travel such roads. Poor city planning is also a factor. If roads are not planned properly, pedestrians that use them to travel are at risk, especially on highways were there is dense, but fast-moving traffic. Walking along a poorly planned roadway can be frustrating, and pedestrians often attempt to take shortcuts when the crosswalks are far apart. Highway drivers are often not prepared to stop because they don’t expect obstacles on highways. And, poor timing can lead to catastrophic pedestrian injuries and even death.

Some other notable details regarding pedestrian accidents in Texas for the year 2018 follow. 10 pedestrian accidents in Texas during 2018 were caused by people in vehicles that were fleeing police. 150 accidents took place in construction zones. 4,475 of these pedestrian accidents occurred during daylight. 1,102 accidents took place in dark conditions. 2,009 pedestrian accidents were in a dark but lighted situation. So, the time of day does not determine one’s level of safety, but common sense tells us that walking on a dark road without proper reflective or highly visible clothing and a light is not the safest choice one could make.

The worst day of the week for pedestrian accidents in Texas in 2018 is Friday. Fewer pedestrian accidents took place on the weekend, with Sunday having the lowest number of accidents.

Table 3

2018 Texas Pedestrian Accidents by Day of Week

CountDay
1,359Friday
1,195Thursday
1,186Monday
1,150Wednesday
1,101Tuesday
1,033Saturday
884 Sunday

 

Factors in Increase of Pedestrian Deaths

There are at least three proven influencers of driver and pedestrian behaviors:

  • Laws
  • Individual behavior
  • Technology

When laws are enacted to curb various behaviors by defining them clearly as contributing factors, the results are usually positive. Making people think responsibly is largely a matter of education and laws can educate us on how to arrive at our most prudent behaviors. It is a moral duty to those who share the roadways with us to consider their safety as being equal in value to our own, and when we do things to endanger other people or put ourselves at greater risk of harm, the law can make this more clear. Drivers all have an obligation to limit and avoid driving distractions, as do pedestrians.

Being that there is no valid ethical argument to support distracted driving, legislation needs to swiftly reflect and take into account all substantive aspects of the dire circumstances at present.

Distracted driving negligence might better be curbed in two other key ways that don’t involve legislation: individual behavior and technology. People must make the choice now to limit this problem by choosing behavior that is responsible, which includes driving and vehicle-buying habits. We can and do influence others. This is especially important with parents. No one really wants children to learn that driving distraction is a way of life. It’s actually quite the opposite in many cases. Consumers can also put safety at the top of their priorities when purchasing a new automobile. If everyone had this mentality, imagine how many injuries and deaths could have been avoided throughout the history of automobile usage.

This brings us to the next influence factor: technology. Technological advancements in automobiles is poised to increasingly minimize the problem with pedestrian accidents, but it is only recently capable of doing so on a scale that will bring the number of accidents down in Texas and elsewhere. Unfortunately, most of the population drives automobiles that are not equipped with such technology, and even when drivers buy a new vehicle in the future, there is no law on record that specifically requires such a pedestrian-avoidance capability, although one could make a valid argument for such laws.

The cost of including collision-avoidance technologies on automobiles is low enough for laws to mandate inclusion of pedestrian-avoidance sensors. But, this is not a specific legal requirement just yet. Though automaker such as Toyota are popular partly due to the companies policy of making new safety features available on most, if not all, of the corporation’s entire production line. If all manufacturers were this responsible, the statistical trajectory of pedestrian accidents would have likely been somewhat less severe during the last decade.

We are a few years — perhaps several years — away from a substantive improvement in the pedestrian accident problem in all likelihood. Until requirements prioritize such solutions to protect the public, pedestrian-accident numbers show few signs of returning to previous numbers, or, ideally lower. But, remember, you can do something about the choices you make as an individual, instead of waiting on solutions that protect pedestrians.

Sources & Citations

All statistical data presented in this report was gathered from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Crash Records Information System  (C.R.I.S. Query Tool)