Pedestrians face a lot of danger while walking along the sidewalks and crosswalks of New York. Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths in motor vehicle crashes has increased steadily. Meanwhile, the number of fatal car accidents has been going down.
Car safety has improved, but it isn’t helping pedestrians
In recent decades, advances in car design have made car occupants safer and less likely to be killed in collisions. However, the new safety features on modern cars have apparently done little to prevent pedestrian deaths. Between 2009 and 2018, there was a 53% increase in the number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles.
For pedestrians, SUVs are far more deadly than cars
SUV models are particularly dangerous cars for pedestrians. A study in Michigan compared pedestrian accidents involving SUVs and pedestrian accidents involving cars and found that the SUV accidents were far more deadly. According to the study, pedestrian accidents involving SUVs that were traveling at least 40 mph were fatal 100% of the time. When cars were traveling at the same speed, about half of the pedestrian accidents were fatal.
SUVs are more popular than ever
The number of SUVs on the road has continued to grow. In 2018, SUVs accounted for 29% of the total number of passenger vehicles in the U.S. That number was up from 21% in 2009. Between 2009 and 2016, fatal single-car accidents involving SUVs hitting pedestrians went up by 81%.
Pedestrian fatalities could be linked to SUV design
SUV manufacturers have made some changes to their vehicle designs to mitigate the dangers posed to occupants of other vehicles. However, the same design considerations have not focused on the safety of pedestrians. The average SUV has a block-front design that forces more energy onto a pedestrian’s body than the slope-front design of a car. Some people believe that if the design of SUVs featured more sloping fronts, there would be fewer fatal motor vehicle accidents with pedestrians.