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FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Newspaper Article 9: Elderly pedestrians

Anytown-Rosario Montañez is ready to be heard. "Senior citizens in Anytown can't walk safely without the help of drivers. We need them to look out for us and stop for us," Montanez wrote in her recent letter to the Mayor. "My sister and I were almost hit this week when we were walking home from our errands. We can't cross as quickly as we would like to," Montanez said.

The fact is that older pedestrians are more likely to be involved in a pedestrian crash than any other age group. From 19XX to 20XX, about 37% of Anytown City pedestrian fatality victims were either under the age of 20 or over the age of 59. For people older than 64, the pedestrian death rate from 19XX-20XX was six persons per 100,000 people, nearly double the over-all county rate of three per 100,000.

The types of crashes older pedestrians are involved in differ from crashes in which younger pedestrians are involved. Older pedestrian crashes tend to occur on a regular trip, often close to home or at shopping centers or recreational venues.

A range of other crash patterns involving older pedestrians has been identified. These include:

  • crashes during daylight hours and mostly in urban areas,
  • crashes that occur at intersections, particularly those without traffic signals,
  • some crashes that occur because of reduced agility - older adults are less able to get out of the way of oncoming vehicles, and
  • crashes in the middle of an intersection that occur when a pedestrian was stranded because the crossing time was too short.

Rosario Montanez is working with the Mayor's office to help spread the word in Anytown. She is part of the Anytown Pedestrian Safety Campaign Coalition, distributing posters and brochures to area schools, offices and businesses to help raise awareness about this serious issue.

The Anytown Pedestrian Safety Coalition is currently conducting a campaign to remind drivers to look for pedestrians; and to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signal indications.

More information about this and other safety issues is available in English and some in Spanish. To volunteer or obtain more information about Anytown's Pedestrian Safety Campaign and other associated events, please call (Campaign Coordinator's name here) at (phone number) or (email address).