The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 6,482 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2018. Another 859 cyclists were also killed in accidents during this same time period. In the case of both groups, these numbers represent not only an increase from 2017 statistics but the continuation of an upward trend in the number of fatal accidents involving these groups going back almost thirty years.
No Clear Reasons to Explain the Statistics
The precise cause for the increase in the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities is unknown. A number of potential culprits have been put forward:
- Increased numbers of people choosing to walk or bike to their destinations
- Popularity of SUVs and light trucks, which can cause more severe harm to individuals
- Smartphone use by motorists as well as pedestrians and bicyclists
Those who have looked at the data also point out that more people report working during the evening and nighttime hours. This factor may also play a role in the numbers, as these fatal wrecks between pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles are occurring more frequently between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Vehicle Safety Technology May Not Be Effective
Vehicle safety features like collision-avoidance technology has been rolled out over the past few years. This technology, however, is not always effective. Collision-avoidance technology in particular is not as effective at night or during low-lighting conditions or during the day. Not only this, but there still remains a significant number of older models of vehicles on the road that are not equipped with this updated technology.
Until it is determined what factors or circumstances are driving the increase in these numbers, though, the upward trend of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities is likely to continue.
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