U.S. Pedestrian Accidents & Causes

When the U.S. shut down in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some traffic authorities were anticipating a decrease in pedestrian accident deaths. It’s a logical assumption to make: less people are on the road, so the likelihood of pedestrian accidents was sure to decrease as well. However, this optimistic forecast was not how things shaped out to be. In 2020, pedestrian deaths climbed 5% from the year before. According to a report from the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association, an estimated 7,485 pedestrians were killed in 2021, up 12% from the 6,711 deaths reported in 2020.

Authorities attribute the uptick in pedestrian accident deaths to several factors: pandemic anxiety, pandemic drinking, speeding, distracted driving, and the perceived freedom of having an open road due to less traffic.

Arizona Pedestrian Accident Rates

The pedestrian accident rates in Arizona have steadily climbed in recent years. In 2016, the Arizona pedestrian accident rate accounted for 1.32% of all Arizona car accidents, climbing by a few points each year with a rate of 1.54% in 2020. The number of pedestrian fatalities has risen as well, going from 193 pedestrians killed in 2016 to the 2020 figure of 235. In the Arizona cities of Peoria, Glendale, Surprise, and Goodyear, pedestrian fatalities accounted for up to 50% of all accident fatalities in the city.

Peoria, Glendale, Surprise, and Goodyear Pedestrian Accident Data


Pedestrian accident fatalities

All accident fatalities

Percentage of pedestrian to total fatalities

Peoria, AZ




Glendale, AZ




Surprise, AZ




Goodyear, AZ




Source: City Data (2019)

Why Pedestrians are Vulnerable to Accidents

A pedestrian is more vulnerable in a traffic collision than anyone else. Pedestrian injuries frequently affect the head, legs, and arms, with leg injuries being the most common type suffered by an injured pedestrian. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable at night or around sunset, and they are more likely to be hit in urban areas where foot traffic is prevalent. Pedestrians are also more likely to be hit by electric or hybrid vehicles, which have quieter engines. Indeed, pedestrian accidents are 37% more likely when a hybrid or electric car is involved rather than a gas-powered one. It’s important to keep this information in mind as car manufacturers increasingly create newer models of electric-enabled vehicles.

What do I do if this happens to me?

  • Remain on the site and notify local authorities and a medical team.
  • Document information from the other party, such as the insurance policy number and their identification.
  • If the suspect has abandoned the scene of the accident, provide as much information as possible to authorities.
  • Take photographs of the incident, including the vehicle involved.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney after seeking medical care.

Urban planning and keeping yourself safe

In recent years, the movement towards building people-centric infrastructure has been gaining steam. If you’re in Arizona, you may have heard of the innovative Culdesac Tempe neighborhood located in the city of Tempe, which prohibits residents from owning vehicles, but provides alternatives such as a light rail, car share zones (think: Uber/Lyft), and shuttles. Similar to the majority of U.S. cities, the rest of Tempe (outside of this new residential community) and the greater Phoenix area remains heavily car-centric and prone to pedestrian accidents. Until safer alternatives are accessible, here are a few ways to keep yourself safe while jogging outside, walking your dog, or engaging in other pedestrian activities:

  • If you are in an area with little to no sidewalk space, it is best to walk on the side where you’re walking toward oncoming traffic.
  • Pay attention to signals at every intersection, and make sure there are no cars moving toward you. If there is a car around, be extra careful and never assume the person driving is paying attention.
  • Become as visible as possible by wearing flashing or reflective clothing, bright colors, and bringing a flashlight.
  • Try to walk in areas with street lights. Even if you are wearing bright clothing at night, it may be hard to spot you if you’re walking in the dark of night.

Arizona Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Peoria, Glendale, Surprise, and Goodyear

If you or a loved one was hit by a car while walking, you are likely facing a slew of overwhelming issues, including life-altering injuries. Remember that as a pedestrian accident victim, you have the right to seek compensation. Contact Garrison Law Firm immediately to arrange for a free case review with one of our pedestrian accident attorneys.

An experienced pedestrian accident attorney will review your case materials (police report, healthcare records, medical bills, documentation confirming your injury stopped you from working, and so on) to assist you with your claim. Your attorney will advise you on seeking economic and non-economic damages based on the type and severity of your injuries, as well as their long-term repercussions. One of the most important first steps towards healing involves getting the support you need.