Owning a vehicle can be expensive, and many people who have the option of taking public transportation or walking are choosing to do so. However, walking to the bus stop, the store or the office comes with its own risks.
In New York, and across the nation, pedestrian deaths are on the rise. Experts give their opinions on why fatalities are climbing.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association data, pedestrian fatalities increased 41% between 2008 and 2018, and one reason may be the size of vehicles. SUVs, pickup trucks and crossover utility vehicles have progressively grown bigger and heavier. When one of these hits a pedestrian, injuries are liable to be more serious.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommends changes in vehicle design as one way to bring down the number of deaths. SUVs typically strike an adult in the torso area, while cars may strike an adult in the legs. A person may roll up onto the hood of a car or to the side of the vehicle after the impact. However, when a vehicle with higher ground clearance hits, the victim is likely to fly forward and suffer further impacts, or even become trapped beneath the vehicle and dragged.
Many experts believe smartphones and other electronic distractions may be the greatest contributor to pedestrian accidents. The Zebra surveyed 2,000 U.S. drivers in January of this year and found that 28.6% admit that their biggest distraction while driving was texting. Even though they believe it is dangerous behavior, many feel pressure to read and answer texts and emails as soon as they receive them, regardless of whether it is safe. Video chatting and taking pictures and videos were slightly less common driving distractions.
Cellphones are not the only things taking people’s minds off driving and hands off the wheel, though. Over 56% of the survey participants said that they eat or drink while behind the wheel. Any distracted driving behavior makes a person less able to respond in an unexpected traffic situation.
While drivers should always be vigilant in watching for pedestrians, many motorists simply fail to see them.