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Pedestrian Fatalities & Injuries in Hit-and-Run Crashes in California, Tennessee & the US: Recent Trends and Risk Factors

Project Description

Both pedestrian fatalities and overall hit-and-run (HAR) fatalities in the US are at a 40-year high, but no post-COVID trends in fatal HAR pedestrian crashes have been examined despite increased reports of reckless driving, increasing vehicle weight and height, and increases in distracted driving. Further, few studies have examined trends in non-fatal pedestrian HAR crashes. Using 2009-2022 national crash fatality data and data on crashes at all severity levels in California and Tennessee, we will examine time trends in all HAR crashes, all pedestrian victim crashes, and how these are related. We will also examine the risk of serious injury or death among HAR vs. non-HAR crashes to try to elucidate the relationship between HAR and outcome severity. Using regression techniques, we will then examine risk factors for single vehicle-pedestrian crashes, including comparing risk factors for HAR vs non-HAR crashes and predictors of whether drivers are eventually identified in HAR crashes. Factors to be examined include crash characteristics, victim characteristics, and driver/vehicle characteristics, where available. We also plan to examine the joint characteristics of driver-pedestrian pairs, such as by age, race or sex, to understand whether this pairing affects the likelihood of fleeing. Finally, we will examine the effect of several inflection points on HAR crash rates and outcomes for pedestrians, including the effects of the COVID pandemic and, potentially, the effects of specific state-level policy changes around licensing laws, given past research linking HAR to unlicensed drivers.

Outputs

Conflict database: database of conflicts between street safety interventions and emergency response demands across the US in the years 2010-2024.


Research paper: one peer-reviewed research paper summarizing findings, identifying areas of common areas of conflict and tradeoffs as well as strategies for overcoming conflict.


Public report: one public-facing white paper summarizing key findings for a wider audience.

Outputs

Conflict database: database of conflicts between street safety interventions and emergency response demands across the US in the years 2010-2024.


Research paper: one peer-reviewed research paper summarizing findings, identifying areas of common areas of conflict and tradeoffs as well as strategies for overcoming conflict.


Public report: one public-facing white paper summarizing key findings for a wider audience.

Outcomes / Impacts

Trends and risk factors identified during analysis will likely have direct policy implications for elected officials and government agencies. If trends in HAR incidence show a continued increase (especially with a sharp increase related to COVID) and HAR can be clearly linked to higher levels of severity, adopting policies and programs to address risk factors increasing the likelihood of fleeing may become a national priority. Examples could include lowering posted speed limits, increasing lighting along certain roadway types, or removing barriers to licensing that are not based on safety violations. Findings related to factors influencing driver identification might also be useful to law enforcement officials in refining their investigative strategies.

Dates

06/01/2024 to 05/31/2025

Universities

University of California at Berkeley

Principal Investigator

Julia Griswold

University of California at Berkeley

juliagris@berkeley.edu

ORCID: 0000-0002-1125-3316

Research Project Funding

Federal: $121,280

Contract Number

69A3552348336

Project Number

24UCB01

Research Priority

Promoting Safety

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