Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

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The  US Department of Transportation and a number of related federal agencies are rolling out a series of campaigns and measures to help reduce the number of auto accidents injuring and killing pedestrians every year.

The  month of October is being marked as National Pedestrian Safety Awareness Month, and the Department of Transportation is spearheading efforts to raise awareness about the rights of pedestrians and the need to keep them safe. There has never been a better time to bring awareness to the rights of pedestrians than now.   In  2020,  an average of  18 pedestrians were killed  every day in the United States. A total of 6,516 pedestrians were killed in auto accidents that year.

This  is a staggering total by any estimate.  It has led to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commenting that Americans now live in a time when it is safer to fly than walk.  Other federal transportation officials have also commented on these statistics, saying that it is unacceptable that Americans are unsafe when they walk.

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Pedestrian accidents account for a significant percentage of the total number of people killed in motor auto accidents every year.  Technologies like auto emergency braking systems that are specifically designed to help vehicles to avoid striking pedestrians  have been touted as the way forward as companies and  regulators come together to reduce these car accident risks.  However,  a new study suggests many of those systems do not work very well during the night time.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently  rated vehicles based on  the effectiveness of their pedestrian auto emergency braking systems, and found that only a few of the models included in the study performed well in preventing auto accidents that occurred at night or in poorly lit conditions. In  daytime or well-lit conditions, these systems worked very well with 19 out of the 23 models studied performing very well in preventing pedestrian accidents.  However, when it came to night time conditions, the results were markedly different.  Only a few vehicles performed well in night time conditions.

Even more concerning is the finding that vehicles like small size pickups and SUVs are less likely to perform well  in poor visibility conditions.   This is even more disheartening because these are the vehicles that  can cause the  most serious injuries to a pedestrian in an accident.  When a pedestrian is involved in an auto accident with an SUV or a small pickup truck, the risk of serious injury or even death can be significantly  higher.  In fact, the disparity between protection for pedestrians  during  well -lit and unlit conditions is so high that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is considering introducing a night time test for pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems.

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A US Senator is calling on the federal administration to strengthen frontal visibility standards for SUVs in order to prevent the kind of auto accidents caused when drivers are unable to see child pedestrians walking in front of the SUV. This visibility issue has resulted in pedestrian accidents which, all too often, result in the wrongful death or serious personal injury to the child.

SUVs are the most popular vehicles in the United States.  They are, unfortunately, also some of the deadliest vehicles on the road.  Because of their large size and bulk, SUVs pose a major threat of serious personal injuries and even wrongful death to occupants of a smaller vehicle involved in an auto accident with an SUV.  SUVs also come with a higher risk of a rollover.  Rollover car accidents are linked to a high risk of personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

Approximately 50% of all cars manufactured in the United States are now SUVs.  Sales of SUVs have risen even as overall car sales have fallen across the country. American motorists’ appetite for large vehicles does not seem to be ending any time soon, considering the popularity of large- sized SUVs in the market.

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Research has shown that pedestrians are much more likely to be killed in accidents involving sport utility vehicles, compared to smaller passenger vehicles. The result is not unexpected given the sheer size of SUV’s.  But the reason this is bad news for pedestrians is because SUV’s have become increasing popular over the past decade.

According to the results of a new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, accidents where a pedestrian was struck by an SUV travelling faster than 19 miles per hour were much more likely to result in a fatality than accidents involving a smaller vehicle travelling at a similar speed. When vehicles were travelling at between 23 and 25 mph, the accident fatality rate for SUVs was 30%, compared to 23% for smaller passenger vehicles.

When SUVs were traveling at 40 mph, all 3 accidents involving SUVs in the study data resulted in pedestrian deaths, compared to 7 out of 3 fatalities in accidents involving small passenger vehicles. Not surprisingly, there was little difference in the fatality rate when the speed of the vehicles was below 20 mph, with passengers in both types of accidents sustaining minimal injuries.

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Cities throughout the U.S., and over the globe, are increasingly encouraging alternative forms of transportation to ease traffic and improve air quality.  In response, bicycling as a means of transportation has gained popularity in many urban areas.  And with the increase of cyclists on the road, city planners and governments have been working to improve safety for both the cyclists, as well as the vehicles and other pedestrians that they share the road with.

Dedicated bike lanes are the most common protections cities have implemented to keep cyclists safe while travelling on local roads.  Forms of bike lanes vary from street level bike lanes with painted lane markings, street-level bike lanes with protective barriers, and protected bike lanes that are raised from the roadway.  Of these, the safest type of bike lanes are the protected bike lanes that are raised and separate from the roadway as these provide a permanent and solid barrier, such as a raised curb or sidewalk, between the cyclist and motor vehicles.  Statistics have found that the fewest number of bike accidents involving crashes with vehicles occur in these types of bike lanes.

Many people tend to think that a street-level protected bike lane, protected by physical barriers such as posts or landscaping, would be safer for cyclist than conventional bike lanes with just painted lines.  However, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that this isn’t necessarily the case.  While the level of serious injury and number of fatalities may be less with street-level protected bike lanes, the number of injuries is actually more than the number of accidents that occur with conventional bike lanes.

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Summer is here which means more people are out walking or riding their bikes.  This also means that there more pedestrians and bicyclist are at risk of being struck by a motorist while enjoying their activity.  Preliminary data shows that pedestrian and bicyclist accident deaths increased last year, even though there was a slight drop in the number of traffic accident fatalities recorded in 2018.

The agency projected estimates of the total number of traffic accident fatalities for 2018, and believes that that number may be in the range of 36,750. That is a one percent increase from the number of deaths that occurred in 2018.

That is the good news. The bad news is that there was a significant 4 percent increase in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities recorded last year. Overall, pedestrian accident deaths increased from 12 percent of all traffic accident deaths in 2017, to 16 percent of all deaths in 2018.  Further, bicycling accident fatalities, according to agency data, are projected to increase by 10 percent.

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A new pedestrian safety report lists Georgia as one of the most dangerous states in the country for pedestrians.

Georgia was ranked at No. 6 on the list of states that are most dangerous for pedestrians.  The August Richmond Country metropolitan area was ranked as the 20th most dangerous area in the country for pedestrians.   These recognitions are more than likely ones that Georgians and their policymakers would rather not have.

The report titled Dangerous by Design states that between 2008 and 2017, there were a total of 49,340 people killed in pedestrian accidents across the country. That makes it a staggering 13 persons killed each day in pedestrian accidents across the United States.

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Pedestrian fatalities in Georgia and across the country continue to remain stubbornly high. Recent research, however, indicates that improvements in auto and road design may play a significant role in helping minimize these deaths every year.

In 2009, there were a total of 4,092 pedestrian accident fatalities across the country. That was a record drop from prior years, but since then the numbers have increased by an alarming 49 percent. In 2016, a total of 5,987 pedestrian accident fatalities were recorded nationwide, the highest number recorded since 1990. As the economy has improved, more motorists have returned to the roads, creating an increase of hazardous conditions for pedestrians.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earlier this year studied pedestrian accident patterns across the country, and made some very interesting conclusions. The report found that more and more of these pedestrian accidents are occurring in suburban or urban areas, intersections and busy arterial roads. They are also more likely to occur in the dark, and involve large vehicles, like SUVs.

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Pedestrians have never been more unsafe on the streets of Georgia. According to reports, there was a alarming spike in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities reported last year.

In 2016, there was an increase of 21% in pedestrian accident fatalities across Georgia, compared to the previous year. These statistics come from a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, which also found that pedestrian traffic fatalities had spiked across 34 states in the U.S. Overall, there was an 11% increase in the number of pedestrian accident fatalities across the U.S. in 2016, compared to 2015.

The picture was markedly worse in Georgia. Between January and June 2016, there were 109 pedestrian fatalities across the state, compared to 90 fatalities during the same period of time in 2015.

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By September 2019, all new hybrid and electric vehicles in the United States must come with a sound-emitting device that will help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new rule requires that all hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles be equipped with an acoustic device to help prevent pedestrian accidents. These quiet vehicles pose a potential hazard because pedestrians, both blind and sighted, very often fail to realize that they are in the path of an oncoming quiet car.  NHTSA estimates that there are as many as 2,400 pedestrian injuries every year that occur as the result of collisions involving these cars.

The agency clearly lays out the minimum sound requirements for both electric and hybrid vehicles with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less.  The requirement asks manufacturers to ensure that these devices produce sounds that meet the minimal requirements of the standard, and which are high enough so that both blind as well as sighted pedestrians can recognize the danger of an accident and can easily move to avoid one. The noise must be audible, and must be produced when the car is traveling at a speed of less than 19 mph. Vehicles that are moving at greater than this speed do not need to emit the sound, because the wind noise generated by the car traveling at high speeds, is deemed sufficient to alert pedestrians.

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