The Most (and Least) Dangerous States for Pedestrians

May 27, 2016 by Steven M. Peters

Don't walk New York traffic sign, pedestrian
Source: Thinkstock
Once introduced, cars quickly became part of America’s culture — but with the automobile also came driver, passenger, and pedestrian traffic fatalities. Per capita traffic fatalities, including pedestrian deaths, have declined by nearly 30% in the last decade, but they remain a serious problem. In 2014, 32,675 people died from traffic-related car crashes, nearly 15% of which were pedestrians.

Being a pedestrian in some states is vastly more dangerous than in others. 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the highest pedestrian fatality rate per 100,000 people, based on traffic accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The safest state is Minnesota, with 0.27 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people. New Mexico is the most dangerous state for pedestrians, with 3.55 killed in traffic accidents per 100,000 residents.

While the federal government provides tools and resources to identify risks, pedestrian safety must ultimately be handled at the state and local levels. Due to the complexity of identifying and mitigating threats to pedestrians, states have differing levels of success combatting these risks.

Click here to see the states with the most and fewest pedestrian deaths.

One of the many factors influencing the large discrepancy between pedestrian safety among states is that risks can vary meaningfully from place to place. For example, the vast majority of pedestrian deaths — 76% — occur in urban areas, where people are more likely to be walking near roadways. Speed limits, the prevalence of sidewalks, and a number of other factors can impact pedestrian fatalities as well.

In some states, pedestrian fatalities have declined significantly, but in others conditions have worsened. Although per capita pedestrian fatalities in Minnesota have decreased by 63% from 2004 to 2014, they increased by more than 100% in Rhode Island over the same time period.

To identify the most dangerous states for pedestrians, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed traffic-related fatality rates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including total traffic and pedestrian fatalities, for 2014. To determine the change in pedestrian fatalities, we also considered 2004 data from the NHTSA. We also reviewed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

These are the states with the highest pedestrian fatality rates.

Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

50. Minnesota
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.27
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 15 (12th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 361 (21st lowest)

Downtown Omaha at sunset
Source: Thinkstock

49. Nebraska
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.48
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 9 (6th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 225 (13th lowest)

Snow Coverd Abandoned Bridge
Source: Thinkstock

48. Iowa
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.61
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 19 (14th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 321 (18th lowest)

Portland Lighthouse, Maine
Source: Thinkstock

47. Maine
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.68
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 9 (6th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 131 (7th lowest)

Cincinnati, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

46. Ohio
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.74
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 86 (17th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,006 (8th highest)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 3
Source: Thinkstock

45. Wisconsin
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.78
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 45 (20th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 507 (23rd highest)

Kansas, USA, freight trains, elevated view
Source: Thinkstock

44. Kansas
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.79
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 23 (15th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 385 (23rd lowest)

Idaho welcome sign
Source: Thinkstock

43. Idaho
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.80
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 13 (9th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 186 (11th lowest)

Vermont farm house
Source: Thinkstock

42. Vermont
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.80
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 5 (2nd lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 44 (the lowest)

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Wyoming desert storm, lightning
Source: Thinkstock

41. Wyoming
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.86
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 5 (2nd lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 150 (10th lowest)

New Hampshire covered bridge
Source: Thinkstock

40. New Hampshire
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.90
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 12 (8th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 95 (5th lowest)

Chicago, Illinois (runner)

39. Illinois
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.95
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 123 (11th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 924 (10th highest)

Glacier National Park, Montana
Source: Thinkstock

38. Montana
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
0.98
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 10 (7th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 192 (12th lowest)

Wheeling, West Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

37. West Virginia
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.03
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 19 (14th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 272 (16th lowest)

Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

36. Massachusetts
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.04
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 70 (22nd highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 328 (19th lowest)

South Dakota, Road Sign
Source: Thinkstock

35. South Dakota
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.05
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 9 (6th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 136 (9th lowest)

Roanoke, Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

34. Virginia
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.06
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 88 (16th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 703 (18th highest)

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Seattle, Washington roads
Source: Thinkstock

33. Washington
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.06
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 75 (20th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 462 (25th lowest)

St. Louis, Missouri 3
Source: Thinkstock

32. Missouri
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.07
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 65 (24th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 766 (15th highest)

Utah
Source: Thinkstock

31. Utah
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.09
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 32 (18th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 256 (15th lowest)

Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

30. Colorado
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.18
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 63 (25th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 488 (24th highest)

Indianapolis, Indiana
Source: Thinkstock

29. Indiana
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.18
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 78 (19th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 746 (16th highest)

Arkansas
Source: Thinkstock

28. Arkansas
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.21
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 36 (19th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 466 (25th highest)

Fargo, North Dakota 2
Source: Thinkstock

27. North Dakota
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.22
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 9 (6th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 135 (8th lowest)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3
Source: Thinkstock

26. Pennsylvania
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.26
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 161 (8th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,195 (5th highest)

Louisville, Kentucky
Source: Thinkstock

25. Kentucky
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.29
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 57 (25th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 672 (19th highest)

Oklahoma Storm, thunder and lightning
Source: Thinkstock

24. Oklahoma
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.29
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 50 (22nd lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 669 (20th highest)

Hartford, Connecticut 2
Source: Thinkstock

23. Connecticut
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.31
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 47 (21st lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 248 (14th lowest)

Gaitlinburg, Tennessee night driving
Source: Thinkstock

22. Tennessee
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.31
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 86 (17th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 962 (9th highest)

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Rush hour in Times Square in New York City, NY, USA
Source: Thinkstock

21. New York
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.33
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 263 (4th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,039 (7th highest)

Warwick, Rhode Island, Kent County
Source: Thinkstock

20. Rhode Island
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.33
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 14 (11th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 52 (2nd lowest)

Portland, Oregon 2
Source: Thinkstock

19. Oregon
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.44
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 57 (25th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 357 (20th lowest)

Michigan winter driving
Source: Thinkstock

18. Michigan
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.49
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 148 (9th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 901 (11th highest)

Atlanta, Georgia 2
Source: Thinkstock

17. Georgia
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.61
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 163 (7th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,164 (6th highest)

Hawaii road
Source: Thinkstock

16. Hawaii
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.69
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 24 (16th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 95 (5th lowest)

Baltimore, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

15. Maryland
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.69
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 101 (14th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 442 (24th lowest)

Charlotte, North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

14. North Carolina
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.73
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 172 (5th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 1,284 (4th highest)

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Vicksburg Bridge, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

13. Mississippi
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.77
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 53 (23rd lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 607 (21st highest)

Austin, Texas
Source: Thinkstock

12. Texas
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.77
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 476 (3rd highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 3,538 (the highest)

Orange County, California
Source: Thinkstock

11. California
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.80
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 697 (the highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 3,074 (2nd highest)

Jersey City, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

10. New Jersey
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.88
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 168 (6th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 556 (22nd highest)

Alaska
Source: Thinkstock

9. Alaska
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.90
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 14 (11th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 73 (3rd lowest)

Birmingham, Alabama 2
Source: Thinkstock

8. Alabama
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
1.98
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 96 (15th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 820 (13th highest)

Arizona road
Source: Thinkstock

7. Arizona
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.09
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 141 (10th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 770 (14th highest)

Charleston, South Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

6. South Carolina
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.21
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 107 (12th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 824 (12th highest)

Street car, New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

5. Louisiana
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.26
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 105 (13th highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 737 (17th highest)

Las Vegas, Nevada
Source: Thinkstock

4. Nevada
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.47
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 70 (22nd highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 290 (17th lowest)

Kent County, Delaware
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Delaware
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.67
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 25 (17th lowest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 121 (6th lowest)

Miami, Florida
Source: Thinkstock

2. Florida
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
2.96
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 588 (2nd highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 2,494 (3rd highest)

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Source: Thinkstock

1. New Mexico
> Pedestrian fatalities per 100,000:
3.55
> Total pedestrian fatalities: 74 (21st highest)
> Total traffic fatalities: 383 (22nd lowest)