Literature Review on Vehicle Travel Speeds and Pedestrian Injuries Among Selected Racial/Ethnic Groups

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The relationship between vehicle travel speeds and resulting pedestrian injury was reviewed in the literature and in existing data sets. Results indicated that higher vehicle speeds are strongly associated with both a greater likelihood of pedestrian crash occurrence and more serious resulting
pedestrian injury. It was estimated that only 5 percent of pedestrians would die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour or less. This compares with fatality rates of 40, 80, and nearly 100 percent for striking speeds of 30, 40, and 50 miles per hour or more respectively. Reductions in
vehicle travel speeds can be achieved through lowered speed limits, police enforcement of speed limits, and associated public information. More long-lasting speed reductions in neighborhoods where vehicles and pedestrians commonly share the roadway can be achieved through engineering
approaches generally known as traffic calming. Countermeasures include road humps, roundabouts, other horizontal traffic deflections (e.g., chicanes), and increased use of stop signs. Comprehensive community-based speed reduction programs, combining public information and education, enforcement, and roadway engineering, are recommended.

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