According to an investigative report recently posted in USA Today, pedestrian accident fatalities have increased almost 50 percent over the last decade. Over 6,000 pedestrian deaths were reported in 2016. The investigation also found a 69 percent increase in the number of fatal pedestrian accidents involving sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
A 2015 report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that pedestrian accidents involving SUVs are more likely to result in death than similar accidents involving passenger vehicles.
SUVs are bigger, heavier, and more powerful than passenger cars and trucks. However, it is the higher front end of an SUV that tends to strike pedestrians in the head and chest areas, which can cause catastrophic and often fatal injuries, including brain, spinal cord, and internal organ injuries.
An improved economy has resulted in more vehicles on the road. Lower gas prices and improved engineering on SUVs have encouraged more sales of these types of vehicles. Families, retirees, and the general population have increased their leisure activities, which means there are more SUVs carting kids to athletic and social events, pulling campers and trailers, and going on rugged adventures.
Distracted driving and drugged driving is also on the rise across the nation. When these types of accidents involve pedestrians and SUVs, the results are often catastrophic. Drivers and pedestrians alike that text, talk on the phone, or listen to loud music on headphones or speakers are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident.
Legalization of marijuana and the opioid crisis across the country are also resulting in more cases of drugged drivers and pedestrians, which increases the risk of serious and fatal accidents.
The investigative report found that the majority of pedestrian and SUV accidents occur in urban areas with populations exceeding 200,000. Newark, New Jersey made the top 10 list of cities with the highest rate of fatal pedestrian accidents in the country.
Lower speed limits, red light cameras, and the addition of pedestrian islands in wide roads have helped many cities reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. Enactment and enforcement of distracted and drugged driving laws, as well as speed cameras in major intersections, have also helped protect pedestrians.
Car and truck manufacturers are also helping to develop new technology that will increase pedestrian safety. Low speed automatic emergency braking systems are one of the most common additions to new vehicles. Most car manufacturers will include this as a standard feature by 2022. The U.S. Department of Transportation believes that over 800 pedestrian lives can be saved each year by adding these devices as standards on new cars and SUVs.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, call the New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and serve clients throughout New Jersey.