Study: Age a factor in pedestrian deaths

Posted: August 17, 2012

TRENTON - Older pedestrians are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by cars or trucks than those under 60, according to a new report by a group studying transportation issues in New Jersey, southern New York, and Connecticut.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign found that the risk of being killed while walking rises with age. Pedestrians older than 60 are 2.4 times more likely to be fatally run down than those under 60, the report showed; for those over 75, the risk is three times higher.

The organization found that 435 people over 60 died in pedestrian accidents in the study zone from 2008 through 2010, accounting for a third of the total number of pedestrian-vehicle deaths during the period. People older than 60 make up about 17 percent of the population.

The death rate for pedestrians older than 60 in the study region declined slightly from 2007 through 2009, but it increased for those 75 and older.

Litchfield County, Conn., was the most dangerous for older pedestrians, the report showed. Nassau County, N.Y., Queens and Brooklyn in New York City, and Hudson County, N.J., rounded out the top five.

The annual "Older Pedestrians at Risk" report released Wednesday found older people less agile and perhaps unable to get out of the way of oncoming vehicles quickly. Crosswalk signals sometimes change too rapidly to accommodate older pedestrians, the report found. And older people who have given up driving may walk more.

The region appears to be far more dangerous for older pedestrians than the rest of the country.

"The pedestrian fatality rate for people aged 60 and older in downstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut is 64 percent higher than the rest of the country," the report noted. "Those 75 and older suffer a fatality rate that is 72 percent higher" than in other states.

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