Risk Factors for Pedestrian Accident Injuries in Oregon and Washington State

Drivers and pedestrians should know that there are certain risk factors that may contribute to pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities. Alcohol impairment, age, location, and time of day all influence the likelihood of pedestrian-related vehicle collisions.

While urban centers like Portland and Vancouver pride themselves on being “pedestrian-friendly,” dangerous roadways that lack clear crosswalks or traffic signals continue to witness a number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. As drivers and pedestrians must interact with one another on city streets and country roads alike, it’s important to recognize some of the risk factors that may contribute to pedestrian accident injuries and fatalities.

Alcohol Impairment and Distracted Behaviors

The most common factor contributing to pedestrian accidents is alcohol impairment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half (47 percent) of crashes involving a pedestrian fatality involved alcohol. One-third of fatal pedestrian accidents involved an intoxicated pedestrian, while 17 percent involved an impaired driver. Many incidents involved both an impaired pedestrian and driver. Additionally, pedestrians or drivers who were distracted (i.e., looking at their phones, taking their eyes off the road, or engaging in other similar behaviors) were more likely to experience an accident.

Children and Older Adults at Increased Risk of Injury

Many pedestrian deaths involved pedestrians who were over the age of 65. Individuals from this demographic accounted for approximately 10 percent of all pedestrian injuries in 2017, according to the CDC. Younger children are also more likely to suffer pedestrian-related injuries. One in every five children aged 15 and under who died in a traffic accident in 2017 were pedestrians. Children and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to traffic injuries, so drivers should be on the lookout for these susceptible populations.

Time and Location Matters

Although pedestrian accidents occur on less-populated freeways, the majority of such accidents take place in urban areas. Pedestrians attempting to cross the road where no intersection exists are particularly vulnerable to injury or death. Pedestrian fatalities are more likely to occur at night when visibility is more difficult. Additionally, higher vehicle speeds make it more likely that a pedestrian will be hit by a vehicle and suffer a serious injury.


If you need help collecting compensation following an accident in Vancouver or Portland, call Henderson Taylor Law Firm today at (360) 737-1478 to discuss your situation with a skilled and compassionate attorney.