Statement of Purpose Fatal, pedestrian-involved, motor vehicle collisions are increasing nationally yet remain lower in states such as West Virginia. The purpose of this study was to investigate risk factors associated with male and female pedestrian fatalities within this state. It was hypothesized that crash characteristics would vary as men and women have different travel behaviors and risk tolerances.
Methods/Approach Data were obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The collision had to occur within West Virginia between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2019. Characteristics describing the victim, crash, and location were stratified by sex and compared using descriptive statistics. Risk factors of male vs. female crashes were determined using binary and multivariable logistic regression models.
Results Among the 254 fatalities, the majority of victims were male (70%). Women perished quicker than men post-collision (mean survival: 685 vs. 1,232 minutes, respectively). The majority of crashes occurred Monday-Friday (69%), at night (76%), on major roadways (73%), on level (71%), non-curved (84%), dry roads (82%) during fair weather conditions (82%) directly outside towns. Nearly 34% of the victims were positive for alcohol, while nearly 43% of the drivers who hit the victims were previously cited for traffic citations. Men were 2.5 times as likely to be hit in a rural area (OR=2.5; 95% CI 1.2, 5.3), on curved roads, and 56% less likely (OR=0.44; 95% CI 0.22, 0.89) to be positive for drugs compared to women.
Conclusions While crash characteristics were fairly similar between the sexes, many of the risk factors were modifiable. Pedestrians need to remain alert and visible to drivers when walking at night. Drivers need to remain vigilant of pedestrians especially in/near towns.
Significance These findings may inform future, pedestrian safety interventions in rural locations where transportation is limited.
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