A report from the central Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released earlier this month focused on the disturbing fact that the number of fatal incidents between cars and pedestrians is rising at a rapid rate. According to the IIHS, the least number of incidents and fatalities between cars and pedestrians in recent times was in 2009. Since that year, the report finds a 46 percent spike in the number of pedestrian deaths in car/pedestrian accidents.
In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians around the country died as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle. This number, the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 1990, accounted for 16 percent of all the deaths that occurred as a result of car crashes during the entire year. Additionally, from 2010 to 2015, there was a 29 percent increase in the number of deaths for every 100 collisions between cars and pedestrians.
The biggest culprit in this startling rise in numbers seems to be drivers of SUVs. This particular subsection saw an 81 percent rise in fatal collisions with pedestrians, leading to questions about why this style of vehicle renders its driver less able or willing to survey the road around them and ensure that there are no pedestrians in an area before continuing to drive.
As well as the rise in SUV related pedestrian deaths, the study found that the number of fatal pedestrian accidents dramatically rose in urban and suburban areas during the time period examined by 54 percent. In rural areas, the study found that the number of pedestrian deaths rose by 25 percent.
Additional numbers provided by the study include:
- A 67 percent rise in pedestrian accidents and fatalities along arterial roads
- A 50 percent rise in pedestrian accidents and fatalities at areas without an intersection
- A 56 percent rise in pedestrian accidents and fatalities during the night or in darker conditions
The writers of the report outlined numerous ideas that they believe could help cut down on the number of pedestrian deaths, including inter-block crosswalks, larger curbs, and more median space for pedestrians to occupy while in the process of crossing the street.