Monday August 6, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its pedestrian fatality reports for 2010. The reports showed that, for the first time in five years, pedestrian deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. To be exact, 4,300 pedestrians were killed in car accidents in 2010, marking a 4 percent increase from 2009. The new stats are sending a shockwave through government agencies and car manufacturers, both of which are feeling pressure to reduce these numbers.
In 2005, there were 4,892 pedestrian deaths, and, in 2009, that number had steadily dropped to 4,109. However, in just one year, the number jumped by 171 deaths. And experts are developing many ideas to prevent the number from rising even more in following years.
What Are They Trying To Do?
NHTSA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is hosting a meeting in September which hopes to secure an effective global safety initiative. Among the ideas the NHTSA wants to explore is a proposal to redesign the hoods and bumpers of automobiles. The proposed design would absorb the impact, theoretically reducing the damage done to a pedestrian in the event of an accident. This idea, however, would require a reversal of a U.S. law which compels manufacturers to produce cars with strong bumpers which will withstand low-speed impacts.
Automakers: Many car manufacturers are developing crash-avoidance and automatic braking technologies which will help prevent pedestrian deaths by programming cars to recognize people walking in the driving path. BMW, Honda, and Toyota are all working on their own version of these technologies. For example, BMW’s “Night Vision” system emits a warning if its built-in sensors pick up a pedestrian crossing in the dark.
David Strickland, who is chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, encourages the use of all of this technology to combat pedestrian deaths. But, for now, the best we can do is to increase our collective knowledge of common pedestrian dangers. To start, keep these facts in mind:
75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurring in the U.S. happen in urban areas.
70 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurring in the U.S. happen at night.
For more information on pedestrian death trends, see some of the other articles on the Carpey Law website. We have provide a lot of information on this subject, from common causes of pedestrian accidents to the issue of distracted pedestrians. Or visit our blog category page to browse our many personal injury articles!