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Pedestrian Safety Policy Brief

By the Numbers

  • New trend shows teens 16 to 19 now most at risk as pedestrians.
  • In 2010, more child pedestrians were injured in September than any other month.
  • Kids are twice as likely to be injured from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. than any other time of day.
  • 501 children were killed by cars while walking in 2010.
  • In the past five years, injuries among teens from 16 to19 years old increased 25 percent over the previous five years.
  • 75 percent of children from 12 to 17 years old owned cell phones in 2009, up from 25 percent in 2004.

Advocacy at Work

Walking Safely

Safe Kids recently released a report on child pedestrian safety, “Walking Safely: A Report to the Nation.” The good news finding of the report is that there’s a 53% decline in the youth pedestrian death rate since 1995, but 61 kids are hit by cars every day in the United States. Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do to make our streets and highways safe for our kids walking on them. A significant finding in the report is that over the past 15 years, the risk has shifted from younger kids to teens. There has been a 25% increase in injuries among teens 16 to 19 in the past five years alone. Safe Kids hypothesizes that the shift—and uptick in the risk—is because of mobile technology and “distracted walking” coupled with distracted driving. “Walking Safely,” the third in a series, was made possible by grants from FedEx.

Policy Prescription

Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) law moved the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to the side of the road in terms of its status and funding. Over the next two years, Safe Kids will fight to return SRTS to its former, more vigorous status with its own dedicated source of funding. Safe Kids will run a grassroots campaign with partners to encourage states and their transportation departments to devote commitment, funding and staff to continue the SRTS momentum.


Safe Kids supports the federal, multi-agency approach to dealing with implications of distraction. Congress embraced the federal commitment to coping with the emergent problem in the 2012 MAP-21 law.

Passing School Buses

Safe Kids supports legislation that would encourage states to enforce tough laws about passing stopped school buses, H.R. 4236, Kaydn’s Act. Kadyn Halverson was killed crossing a street in Worth County, Iowa, to get to her bus when struck by a driver who passed the school bus and fled the scene.

More Information About Pedestrian Safety