Maryland Pedestrian Accident Deaths: Top Causes and Characteristics

Pedestrians are at a serious disadvantage when they are involved in motor vehicle accidents. Even when a pedestrian is struck by a slow-moving vehicle, serious injuries and fatalities can occur. This includes people who are hit while walking, running, standing or simply getting out of their vehicle. The risk of serious pedestrian injury and fatality increases the faster the vehicle involved is going.

In Maryland, roughly 3,000 traffic accidents a year involve pedestrians. Over the last five years, on average, 125 people die annually in Maryland pedestrian accidents involving at least one motor vehicle.

Zero Deaths Maryland — a public safety initiative of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration — compiles data related to all traffic crashes in the state. The top causes and contributing factors in Maryland fatal pedestrian accidents are as follows:

  • From 2017 to 2021, one out of every four people killed in a traffic crash was a pedestrian.
  • Metropolitan areas have the highest concentration of pedestrian-involved crashes, with Metropolitan Baltimore accounting for 58.9 percent of the state’s pedestrian accidents.
  • Friday is the peak day for pedestrian accidents, with the most fatal pedestrian accidents occurring on a Saturday.
  • More men are injured in pedestrian-involved crashes, accounting for 56 percent of injured pedestrians and 72 percent of fatalities.
  • School zones, construction zones, neighborhood streets, and parking lots are all examples where increased pedestrian traffic is expected, so motorists are advised to reduce their speed and remain alert.
  • Speed, impaired driving, motorists’ inability to see pedestrians at night, distracted driving and now, distracted walking — especially when using a mobile device — are all contributing factors that may lead to serious pedestrian accidents.

Maryland has pedestrian safety laws in place to protect both pedestrians and motorists. Many of these laws involve using common sense for both motorists and pedestrians: e.g., obeying speed limits, using crosswalks and sidewalks when on foot, slowing down for street crossings and in areas with heavy foot traffic (including schools, shopping plazas, and construction zones), and in general, being aware of your surroundings.

The state of Maryland is serious about preventing pedestrian accidents. The Maryland Vulnerable Road User law took effect in 2021, mandating stricter penalties for causing harm to vulnerable individuals (including pedestrians, cyclists, road workers or emergency personnel, among others) while operating a motor vehicle. A conviction can carry fines of up to $2,000 and up to 150 hours of community service.

Everyone is in a rush and on their cell phones. Please, slow down and be mindful of those around you. Maryland motorists are sharing the road not only with each other, but with those on foot. Be careful out there and watch out for pedestrians. And remember, when you’re out walking, be mindful of the cars around you; walk carefully and do your best to be seen.


Pedestrian Crash Statistics 2022
Zero Deaths Maryland  April 27, 2023

Maryland Pedestrian Safety Laws
Zero Deaths Maryland  May 17, 2022

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