Arizona is the Most Dangerous State for Pedestrians. Here’s Why

The reasons people move to Arizona: blue skies, fantastic weather, and beautiful scenery, are also why it’s the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. 

Arizona has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation and is widely recognized as one of the most dangerous states to travel on foot. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation 2022 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report, there were 302 pedestrian fatalities during 2022, which reflected an increase of over 16 percent. 

On a per-capita basis, Arizona has 4.17 pedestrian deaths per every 100,000 Arizonans, which is two times the national pedestrian fatality rate (every day, 20 people in the U.S. walk outside and end up killed by a moving vehicle).

Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents have been on the rise for quite some time. “There are more pedestrians being killed today than in decades,” said Russ Martin, the senior director of policy and government relations at the Governors Highway Safety Association. The organization estimates that more than 7,500 pedestrians were killed by drivers last year, which is the highest number on record since 1981. 

Given the grim portrait, what do pedestrians do to remain safe? It starts with understanding the laws surrounding pedestrians. Here’s how Arizona views pedestrian safety. 

Understanding Arizona’s Pedestrian Laws

As with laws that help drivers and bicyclists, pedestrians need to understand what their rights and responsibilities are in Arizona. Here’s how the law stacks up for drivers and for pedestrians.

All drivers in Arizona are required to:

  • Exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.
  • Yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.
  • Avoid passing another vehicle when that vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk. 

All pedestrians in Arizona are required to:

  • Follow traffic control signals at intersections.
  • Yield the right-of-way to all vehicles when not at a crosswalk.
  • Must walk expeditiously when possible on the right half of the crosswalk.
  • Must not suddenly walk or run into the path of a vehicle. 
  • Must not walk on a roadway when a sidewalk is available. 
  • If a sidewalk is not provided, a pedestrian must walk on the left side of the road or its shoulder facing traffic. 

Stay Safe as a Pedestrian With These Walking Tips

Injuries to pedestrians are often catastrophic because the human body is just no match for a car or truck, even at a low speed. Here are some things you can do to stay safe – and avoid liability – when you’re out walking. 

  1. Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  2. Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  3. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  4. Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  5. Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
  6. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  7. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
  8. Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
  9. Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
  10. Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.

Who’s Responsible in an Accident With a Pedestrian? We Can Help.

Arizona has several laws to determine who is responsible for injuries when an accident involves a pedestrian. It is entirely possible for a pedestrian to be at fault in a car versus pedestrian accident. 

Because the different scenarios can complicate who is found liable, talking with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer may be your best bet. If you or somebody you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, contact us today.