In recent years, two major developments have led to an increase in both the number of pedestrian accidents and the severity of injuries caused in those accidents. First, drivers are more distracted than ever. Second, motor vehicles keep getting larger and taller. One in three new automobiles sold in the United States is a light truck, including SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans.
Increasing Number of Large Vehicles
Light trucks sit higher than traditional automobiles, thereby obscuring visibility and creating blind spots. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association identified the increasing number of SUVs as the primary factor in the increase in pedestrian fatalities. Last year, almost 9,000 pedestrians died as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle. This is a 45% increase. Cyclist deaths rose by 38% during that same period. These are statistics for deaths, and don’t include just injuries. There is also an increase in the number of severe personal injuries caused by car-on-pedestrian collisions. Further, the types of personal injuries are worse, often involving traumatic brain injury (TBI) or severe fractures like a broken hip or broken femur.
Decreasing Pedestrian Injuries
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association created the Vision Zero program in an effort to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in the United States. The program is patterned after one started in Helsinki, Finland, which reduced pedestrian fatalities to zero. Some proposals include increasing parking fees and license fees to discourage automobile usage. Crowded streets increase the chance of a pedestrian’s death or serious personal injury. Another proposal involves banning aftermarket equipment that further obscures vision or increases the likeliness of harm on impact. For instance, tinted windows reduce visibility. Shiny wheel rims and underbody glow lights can be distracting. Finally, metal bull bars obscure the cushioned portion of a rubberized pumper making contact more vicious. Another proposal is to replace city fleet vehicles with smaller vehicles, like Smart cars.
Unfortunately, like many important governmental functions these days, the federal government has bowed to industry and abdicated its authority to create safety rules to reduce pedestrian fatalities. So, many cities have had to act on their own in an effort to protect ambulatory populations.
Contact an Attorney
If your loved one has sustained a serious personal injury, such as a hip fracture or broken leg, traumatic brain injury, or wrongful death as a result of a collision with a car or truck a car, hit and run, knock down in a crosswalk, or truck crashing into them while walking, you should contact a lawyer, like a catastrophic injury lawyer in Cleveland, OH from Mishkind Kulwicki Law Co, L.P.A., today. It is important to preserve evidence and take witness statements promptly, as time limits may apply to filing a suit.