Pedestrian Accidents in Washington, D.C.

Pedestrian lies on the street after being struck by a car.
One of the main reasons that so many pedestrian deaths and serious injuries occur is the lack of protection pedestrians have in comparison to motor vehicle operators.

Why Pedestrian Accidents Are Rising in Washington, D.C.

Across the nation and in Washington, D.C., the number of pedestrian accidents is increasing at a rapid rate. This is happening due to the ever-escalating number of walkers who are on urban streets and rural trails every day. In fact, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported that 2020 was one of the worst years for pedestrians with many fatalities on record. Let’s look at why the number of deaths occurred, what changes can be made and who is liable in a pedestrian collision.

Why Are Pedestrian Accidents So Bad?

One of the main reasons that so many pedestrian deaths and serious injuries occur is the lack of protection pedestrians have in comparison to motor vehicle operators. Reckless drivers are linked to pedestrian accidents, including drunk and distracted driving and speeding, which account for a high number of pedestrian accidents. Nationwide, there were 6,721 pedestrian deaths. This represents an increase of 4.8 percent over 2019. If you take the decreased number of cars on the road during that time period, it is easy to see that the actual pedestrian death rate zooms up to 21 percent. So let’s see how this trend played out last year against the latest reports:

  • Drivers struck and killed more people of color than those who identified as being white. This occurred despite the fact that people of color don’t represent the highest number of pedestrians. 
  • In 2017, 17 percent of all pedestrians suffered serious or fatal injuries. This is in comparison to the 13 percent of pedestrian roadway fatalities in 2010.
  • The majority of pedestrians are killed on local roads and not in intersections.
  • More pedestrians are killed after dark. In fact, during the last decade, the number of pedestrians killed after dark grew to 54 percent. Compare this to the 16 percent rise in daylight pedestrian deaths.
  • Passenger cars account for the largest category of vehicles involved in pedestrian deaths.
  • The largest percentage rise occurs in pedestrian accidents involving SUVs at 69 percent. This can be compared with the number of deaths from crashes involving passenger vehicles. 
  • Of all pedestrian accidents involving a fatality, the number of drunk driving cases has risen dramatically and rose to 50 percent.
  • Speeding accounts for a large number of pedestrian injuries. This is due to a disparity between the impact the pedestrian experiences at a high speed as compared to a slower speed.

How to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents

There are ways a pedestrian can stay safe:

  • Wear bright colors during the daylight hours and carry a flashlight, wear light colors or use reflective decals at night.
  • Being distracted is a major problem. Distracted driving is fast becoming the leading cause of all accidents, including those involving a pedestrian.
  • Don’t listen to music as you’re walking, you need to be attuned to the sounds around you. If you must do it, only listen to one earbud at a time.

Roeser Law Firm

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in Washington, D.C. or Maryland, call the Roeser Law Firm. We’ve helped many walkers obtain the compensation they deserve after a pedestrian crash. We can be reached at (202) 660-4070 for a free case review, If you’d rather, contact us online

Zeke Roeser


3000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 660-4070