The Rise of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
Why Are More Pedestrians Being Killed?
Earlier this year, the NHTSA released their annual traffic safety reports. Amongst them was the report on vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents (for simplicity sake, bicyclists are included in this analysis). The report wasn’t good. It showed that despite the fact that fatalities in vehicle wrecks are going down overall, there were more pedestrians killed in 2018 than any other year since 1990. In fact, pedestrian deaths have gone up 42% in the past decade.
So what’s going on; why are pedestrian fatal accidents increasing?
We have taken a look, and found there are a few factors that are involved. As the premier auto repair shop in Billings, we want to make sure that you are an informed and safe driver so you don’t end up in an accident that could easily be prevented.
Why Fatal Vehicle Accidents are Going Down
Over the years, fewer people die in motor vehicle accidents. Despite the growing number of vehicles on the road, the overall number of deaths has gone down significantly. 50 years ago, there were over 50,000 fatal accidents every year; in 2018 there were 36,560.
While distracted driving isn’t helping those numbers, a decrease in drunk driving is. The other major factor is vehicle technology. Simply put: vehicles are much safer now than they were even a few years ago. As safety in the vehicle improves, more lives are spared.
But technology hasn’t helped pedestrian accidents.
Why Fatal Pedestrian Accidents are Going Up
When it comes to a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision, there are no safety zones. The only hope is that one of the parties is able to see the oncoming collision and get out of the way. But why are people dying more now?
- There are simply more people out there. In 1990, the population of the US was 250 million; now the population is 327 million. That’s a 30% increase.
- Distractions are an issue. Drivers are more distracted, but at the same time, pedestrians are also more distracted. We know not to use our phones while driving, but many people keep their head down even while walking.
- More attention to fitness means that more people are walking and biking to work. Often this means in the dark before sunrise and after sunset; a time when the majority of these accidents happen.
When these factors combine, the result is that a safer vehicle does nothing for the well-being of a human being struck.
How to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
Most accidents can be prevented with a little bit of awareness from both parties. If you’re the driver, you can help ensure the safety of those walking and biking by paying attention.
- Be more alert when you see a pedestrian or cyclist
- Expect rapid or sudden changes in direction and be ready to avoid a collision
- Put the distractions away!
- Know your vehicle and how it handles; know your route and where pedestrians are likely to be
- Call an Uber if you have been celebrating
As a pedestrian, you can also help to lower the likelihood of an accident.
- Don’t use your phone while walking, especially through intersections
- Be aware of traffic, and ready to move out of the way quickly of an erratic driver
- Always use controlled crosswalks when possible; avoid crossing in the middle of the street
- Never assume a vehicle will stop for you
- Take extra precautions if walking while intoxicated
- Wear bright colored clothing, a headlamp, or a carry a flashlight if walking at night
Big Sky Collision Center Wants You to Be Safe
Our goal is that no vehicles would come through our doors due to negligence. Of course there are the unavoidable instances like hail damage repair. Taking a little extra time, and being a little safer will lead to fewer accidents and fewer deaths on the roadways.