AUSTIN (KXAN) — A vehicle colliding with a pedestrian (AutoPed) at any speed can injure or even kill. KXAN looked at such collisions over 2022 and into 2023 to determine where they occur.

According to data from the Austin Police Department (APD), the majority of AutoPeds appear to occur near Interstate 35, US-183 and Ben White Blvd. AutoPeds also were reported in outlier areas in east Austin. These locations roughly line up with where fatal car collisions also occur in the city.

Additionally, APD said problem areas with a high frequency of AutoPeds are in north central and south central Austin near the I-35 corridor.

What makes an AutoPed fatal?

Multiple factors are at play in any vehicle collision, but the primary ones are speed, size of a vehicle and the general health of a pedestrian. The heavier a vehicle, and the faster that vehicle travels, the more force it imparts in a collision.

Research in 2011 by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety (FTS) found that the risk of death in an AutoPed reaches 10% if the impact speed is over 23 miles per hour. That risk jumps to 50% if the car is traveling at 42 mph and then to 90% at 58 mph.

AAA noted that age also plays a role in pedestrian survival, with significant variations by age — a 70-year-old being hit by a car traveling at 25 mph has the same chance of surviving as a 30‐year‐old getting hit by a car going 35mph.

APD provides tips for drivers, pedestrians

  • Pedestrians should never attempt to cross high-speed roadways without a designated crossing area.
  • Pedestrians should always follow crossing signals and never assume that a driver will stop for them even if they have the right of way.
  • Pedestrians should carefully watch drivers’ actions, especially at intersections where vehicles may come from multiple directions.
  • Dark clothing should be avoided at night by any pedestrian or cyclist. In turn, drivers should be mindful of pedestrians, especially around areas known for high foot traffic, such as downtown and intersections.
  • Drivers should avoid distractions, allowing them to take evasive actions should a pedestrian step out lawfully or unlawfully in front of them.
  • Both drivers and pedestrians should follow all traffic laws.

APD said when pedestrians are struck on high speed roadways, their chance of survival greatly diminishes due to the high speeds of vehicles.