Even as the colder winter weather sets in, many residents Michigan continue to get outside to walk their dogs, go for a run or stroll through the town and take in the holiday decorations. Even walking across a parking lot makes a person a pedestrian until they are safely inside the building they were planning to go to. These scenarios are all normal parts of life, yet they are things that seem to put pedestrians in danger in growing numbers.
According to an NPR report, the United States recorded more pedestrian deaths than it has since 1990. Records from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicate that over these 28 years, the number of people on foot killed in vehicular accidents has jumped by a staggering 35%. These deaths have taken place at all times of the day or night but are more prevalent in dark hours. These pedestrian deaths have increased by 45% compared to 11% for those deaths in daylight hours.
The Verge notes that the increase in pedestrian deaths comes at a time when overall traffic fatalities are declining and more automakers are rolling out new models with advanced safety features. These safety features, however, do not seem to work in all scenarios. In one AAA study, pedestrian detection alerts and automatic emergency braking systems were included in crash test vehicles. During daylight hours at 20 miles per hour, these vehicles still hit the pedestrian dummies six out of 10 times.
American’s preference for bigger vehicles may also contribute to more pedestrian deaths as the impact of being hit by an SUV can be much greater than of being hit by a compact car.