BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — North Dakota may not have the same number of vehicle crashes as larger states, but as past studies have shown, our level of danger on the road is often much higher than the national average. And as a new piece of research suggests, the same can be said for the danger pedestrians face on the road. It’s well-known that even those who walk near the streets face danger — and evidently, more so during some parts of the year than in others.

In order to determine which months had the highest rates of pedestrian fatality in North Dakota, researchers with Zinda Law Group analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the volume of fatal motor vehicle crashes in the state and the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents between 2017-2021. Here, it was discovered that certain times of the year, as well as individual months, can each possess their own problems for pedestrians, and not always in the ways one would expect.

Winter months, according to the study, tend to have the highest percentage of crashes involving pedestrian fatalities here in North Dakota. In particular, December, May, and January — despite having lower numbers of actual crashes when compared to other months — have the highest percentages of pedestrian fatalities. Of each of these months, at least 11% of all MVCs involved a pedestrian death.

RankMonthTotal Motor Vehicle CrashesPedestrians Killed in Fatal CrashesMVCs Involving Pedestrian Death
Months with the largest number of pedestrian fatalities, 2017-2021

Ironically, while the summer months are generally considered to be some of the most dangerous times for those behind the wheel, they also seem to be the safest time for others on the road. On the other end of the spectrum, this time period often tends to be when the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities occurs. During August in particular, pedestrian fatalities appear to be entirely nonexistent in modern times: of the 54 incidents that occurred between 2017 and 2021, no pedestrians were killed in collisions. This trend of lower casualty counts during both early summer and the beginning of Fall — June and October also ranked on the lower end of fatalities, with only two reported each month (3.85% and 5% of the month’s crashes, respectively).

RankMonthTotal Motor Vehicle CrashesPedestrians Killed in Fatal CrashesMVCs Involving Pedestrian Death
Months with the least number of pedestrian fatalities, 2017-2021

“Evenings during the winter months are some of the most dangerous times to travel as a pedestrian,” explains a Zinda Law Group representative in a press release. “Over 70% of pedestrians killed in a fatal crash were involved in an incident during nighttime. If you decide to take a walk in the darker months or during the evening, make sure to wear reflective clothing if possible and travel in well-lit areas. It is vital to always be aware of your surroundings for possible vehicles, removing earphones or reducing the volume of your music to ensure you move as safely as possible.” 

While pedestrians, of course, need to be extremely careful when traveling across roads, it’s important that drivers, too, take extra caution when watching the road to help reduce the risk of pedestrian fatalities. You can learn more about fatality prevention by visiting Vision Zero’s website.