Increased Pedestrian Deaths – NTSB Calls for Safety Measures

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by way of its Pedestrian Safety Special Investigation Report, since 2009 the deaths of pedestrians in traffic accidents in the United States has increased 46%. Take a moment and let this statistic sink in. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt may have described this problem best when he stated, “pedestrian safety is a universal issue – we are all pedestrians.”

The factors for this statistic are unclear, as the information does not provide a cause for the spike in deaths. However, some researchers believe an improving economy could be a factor because it allows for more people to be out on the roads. Another popular belief is how cell phones play a role because they distract both drivers and pedestrians.

With this new report, the National Transportation Safety Board has asked for a three-pronged approach to fight the issue. They also made eight safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two to the Federal Highway Administration, and one to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recommendations include the need to add “performance-based standards for vehicle headlight systems, development of performance test criteria for vehicle designs that reduce pedestrian injuries, and incorporation of pedestrian safety systems including pedestrian collision avoidance systems and other more passive safety systems into the New Car Assessment Program.”

Solutions for this issue could also be drawn from other states who have taken matters into their own hands. In 2017, Honolulu banned pedestrians from using mobile devices while crossing the street and applied fines ranging from $15-$99.

New York City had their pedestrian fatalities drop to 101 in 2017, which is the lowest it has ever been since record tracking began in 1910. Mayor Bill de Blasio believes the “lower speed limit, increased enforcement and safer street designs” are attributed to this.

The next time you are driving in a heavily populated area with pedestrians, please be extra cautious. And in light of this new statistic we recommend talking to your friends and family about doing the same.

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