Key findings:

  • Urban states have the highest rate of pedestrian deaths; New Jersey and New York lead the way.
  • An average of 5,436 pedestrians die every year in fatal car crashes.
  • Pedestrian deaths are on the rise. In 2017, pedestrian fatality rate was 16.08% — highest in a five-year span since 2013.
  • Pedestrians are more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Look both ways before crossing the street is one of the first lessons we were taught as kids. It helps us to ensure traffic is stopped before we cross the road. However, the old adage isn’t keeping pedestrian road fatalities at a standstill. In 2017, the 16.08% pedestrian road fatality rate was at its highest in a five-year span since 2013. The increase in fatality rates isn’t particularly due to folks forgetting to look both ways before crossing the street.

Unfortunately, we found that pedestrian road fatalities are occuring on busy streets with lots of pedestrians. It would seem unlikely for pedestrians to be fatally hit on a backed up city street during the day. However, the most likely equation for this study is the more pedestrians and cars sharing the road, the more likely a fatal incident is to occur. Our findings saw that states with highly populated urban metro areas tended to be near the top of our list for most dangerous states for pedestrians. Case in point would be our top two states sharing the New York City metro area, which is the largest metro in the country. The following states also are home to some of the largest metro areas in the country.

To rank states by most dangerous for pedestrians, we analyzed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data for types of persons involved in fatal car crashes. Specifically, we looked at the total number of pedestrians involved in a fatal car accident as a percentage of total persons in fatal car accidents. We compared each state's percentage of pedestrian fatalities over a period from 2013 to 2017. States ranking are from 1 being the most dangerous to 50 being least dangerous for pedestrians.

Rankings

Rank State Total Pedestrian Fatalities % of Pedestrian Fatalities
1 New Jersey 813 28.18
2 New York 1460 26.94
3 Delaware 147 24.83
4 Nevada 373 24.42
5 Rhode Island 71 24.06
6 California 4053 23.79
7 Hawaii 115 22.24
8 Massachusetts 384 21.50
9 Florida 3023 21.40
10 Maryland 528 21.12
11 Arizona 850 19.01
12 New Mexico 326 18.32
13 Connecticut 237 17.09
14 Alaska 58 16.47
15 Michigan 781 15.90
16 Texas 2790 15.47
17 Washington 394 15.45
18 Oregon 314 15.30
19 Louisiana 546 14.70
20 Georgia 980 14.26
21 Utah 184 14.06
22 South Carolina 628 13.72
23 North Carolina 926 13.58
24 Illinois 689 13.54
25 Pennsylvania 776 13.08
26 Virginia 473 12.46
27 Colorado 343 12.36
28 Alabama 502 11.02
29 Ohio 582 10.74
30 Indiana 438 10.71
31 Oklahoma 344 10.31
32 New Hampshire 60 10.30
33 Missouri 434 10.16
34 Maine 76 9.96
35 Tennessee 491 9.82
36 Minnesota 182 9.53
37 Kentucky 343 9.30
38 Mississippi 298 9.10
39 Vermont 27 8.97
40 Wisconsin 246 8.67
41 Arkansas 218 8.47
42 West Virginia 116 7.49
43 Kansas 146 7.37
44 Montana 73 7.14
45 Iowa 109 6.44
46 Nebraska 72 6.38
47 South Dakota 40 6.15
48 Idaho 68 6.10
49 North Dakota 29 4.51
50 Wyoming 24 3.88

Dangerous metro areas by population

1. New Jersey

New York–Newark pop. 19,979,480

2. New York

New York–Newark pop.19,979,480

3. Delaware

Wilmington–Philadelphia pop. 6,096,370

4. Nevada

Las Vegas–Henderson pop. 2,231,650

5. Rhode Island

Providence–Warwick pop. 1,621,340

6. California

Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim pop.13,291,490

San Francisco–Oakland pop. 4,729,480

San Diego–Carlsbad pop. 3,343,360

7. Hawaii

Honolulu pop. 802,459

8. Massachusetts

Boston–Cambridge–Newton pop. 4,875,390

9. Florida

Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach pop. 6,198,780

Tampa–St. Petersburg pop. 3,142,660

Orlando–Kissimmee pop. 2,572,960

Jacksonville pop. 1,534,700

10. Maryland

Baltimore–Towson–Columbia pop. 2,802,790

Methodology

QuoteWizard analyzed NHTSA data on persons killed in fatal car crashes. We looked at total pedestrian fatalities as a percentage of total people in fatal car crashes. We then evaluated pedestrian fatalities as a percentage of total fatalities in a span from 2013 to 2017. State rankings are from 1 (highest rate of pedestrian fatalities) to 50 (lowest rate of pedestrian fatalities).