By nature, pedestrians are at a disadvantage when amidst a sea of vehicles. Like motorcyclists and bicyclists, they lack the shell of protection around them that a car, truck or other vehicle provides.
Even though drivers should operate vehicles safely and yield to pedestrians, the facts show that this happens far less frequently than it should.
Pedestrian fatalities on the rise across the U.S.
According to records from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrian deaths across the nation have skyrocketed a whopping 53% in the decade spanning 2009 through 2018. Interestingly, this increase coincides with the introduction of more advanced safety features in new vehicles, many of which focus on pedestrian safety and accident prevention.
Advanced safety features fail pedestrians
The Verge reported on a study conducted by AAA that evaluated the effectiveness of pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems together. Sadly, these systems were found ineffective at night, when three out of four pedestrian fatalities occur. Even in daylight hours and with a vehicle traveling at a mere 20 miles per hour, an adult pedestrian dummy in a crosswalk was still hit 60% of the time.
SUVs connected to more severe injuries and outcomes
American consumers’ love of SUVs may well contribute to the growing number of pedestrian fatalities. When these tall vehicles hit pedestrians, the impact more commonly occurs in the torso where damage to vital organs may happen. Pedestrians hit by SUVs may sustain head injuries more often than if they were hit by smaller vehicles. A pedestrian may also be more likely to fall underneath an SUV instead of on top of the hood of a standard passenger vehicle.