Pedestrian accidents involving automobiles have been steadily climbing according to recent data. While many pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, rural areas also have their share. More accidents involving pedestrians occur at non-intersections than intersections. A great majority of pedestrian accidents also happen at night as opposed to daylight hours. In 2018, the number of pedestrian deaths hit an all-time high, as Fox News reports.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association used numbers compiled for the first half of 2018 to estimate that there were 6,227 pedestrian deaths last year. This number is up 4% from 2017 and up more than 35% from 2008.
The safety organization says that the increase has multiple factors behind it. Smartphones, more people walking to work, and an increase in the number of SUVs on the roadways are all contributing factors into the rise of pedestrian fatalities.
Richard Retting, a former top safety official with the city of New York authored the agency’s report. He said, “At the same impact speed, a pedestrian is much more likely to die in an SUV crash than in a car crash.” He followed that statement up with, “Even at 20 or 25 miles per hour, being hit by an SUV, the chance of fatal injuries increases significantly.”
The number of pedestrian deaths involving SUVs increased by 50% between 2013 to 2017. The number of people killed by passenger cars was still higher than the number killed by SUVs.
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Pedestrian deaths had been decreasing up until 2009, which is about the same time that smartphone sales, as well as data usage by smartphones, began to climb. While the correlation between pedestrian accidents and smartphone use at the time of the accident needs to be studied further, it is one probable cause for the rise in fatalities.