I recently was given some statistics from a friend who works for King County Public Health. I take a walk at lunchtime, most days when I’m at my office. So, what do these two sentences have to do with each other? Although I’m a safety professional, with years of experience in driver safety programs . . . I’m a pedestrian on those lunch hour “hikes”.
Crossing the street in a busy city is always somewhat hazardous: some folks are distracted and just don’t see you. And, at times, we pedestrians don’t always see or hear traffic approaching the crosswalk. (NOTE: new cars and particularly hybrid cars make very little sound when pulling away from a stop at usual in-the-city speeds!) Pedestrians need to be especially watchful for these quiet cars.
I always knew the “fact” to be true, but didn’t have a clue as to the “real numbers”. If we would slow down, and drive just a little slower - the severity of vehicle pedestrian collisions would be reduced, and many lives would be saved.
- In a 20 mph collision, approximately 30% of pedestrians struck are uninjured, about 5% die, and the remainder sustain an injury.
- At 30 mph, approximately 5% of pedestrians struck are uninjured, about 45% die, and the remaining 50% sustain an injury.
- At 40 mph, no one escapes without an injury, and 85% are killed.
- At 50 mph, there is a 100% fatality rate for the pedestrian who is struck.
The laws of physics are inescapable: in a collision between a ton or more of steel versus 150 to 200 pounds of human – the human is always the looser.
Please slow down when driving near pedestrians, we’ll all be a lot safer is we do.