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What’s Causing the Rise in Pedestrian Deaths in the US?

The rise in fatalities involving pedestrians on the roads of America is a worrying trend that needs to be addressed. Recent statistics point to this disturbing trend, dramatically outnumbering other vehicle-related fatalities. As stated by Nexstar Media Wire News, between 2010-2021, pedestrian deaths shot up by 77% sharply, while the rest saw a 25% increase. In addition, the pandemic worsened this situation because, with less traffic control, careless driving practices increased overall. Better enforcement approaches, and the use of design measures to improve pedestrian safety infrastructure can assist in addressing this worrying situation and guarantee the safety of all individuals who commute on American roads.

 

Increased Number of Larger Vehicles

The immensely large vehicle class, comprising particularly SUVs and pickup trucks, constitutes an enormous share of the recent increase in pedestrian fatalities. These cars, heavier and bigger, give more severe injuries to road users, pedestrians, and cyclists in crashes. Pedestrians are much more likely to suffer more serious or even life-threatening injuries as a result of the higher frontal profiles of SUVs, which often cause hits in places such as the head or chest. Not only do the larger blind spots that these types of vehicles have contribute to the risk of accidents but also in urban or congested areas. These problems require policymakers to implement stringent measures in vehicle design, infrastructure improvements, public awareness as well as strict traffic management to stop the recurrence of such accidents. Collaborative initiatives integrating governmental enterprises, automobile producers, urban planners, and community partners are key to the realization of effective solutions and to creating safer places for pedestrians.

 

Insufficient Infrastructure

The lack of sufficient infrastructure accentuates the threat of pedestrian deaths by preventing smooth pedestrian movement. Places that do not have sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals compel people to cross the streets along with vehicle traffic, thereby increasing the tendency of accidents. In addition, lack of proper lighting and wearing out roadways stand as the other risks for pedestrian accidents, especially during nights when visibility is less. Pedestrian inaccessibility not only impacts pedestrian safety but also complicates the implementation of measures to enhance physical activity and spread the message about alternative modes of transportation. Solving these issues calls for investing in infrastructure upgrades that would make the pedestrian street safer and, thus, create a healthy and sustainable community.

 

Weak Traffic Enforcement

Poor traffic enforcement notably aggravates pedestrian fatalities through ineffective regulation of risky driving actions. When speed limits, distracted driving laws, and pedestrian right-of-way rules are not strictly enforced, drivers may be tempted to take dangerous actions, including speeding, texting while driving, and not respecting pedestrian rights of way. These loopholes contribute to compromised pedestrian safety and raise the probability of accidents. Enhanced traffic enforcement through more patrols, installation of modern technology, and public education measures can play a vital role in minimizing pedestrian deaths and road safety improvement for everyone.

 

Higher Speed Limits

Passing vehicles at higher speeds significantly imperils pedestrian safety by straightforwardly raising the harmful effects of collisions and minimizing the driver’s reaction time. The introduction of faster speed limits has led to more severe injuries and deaths for pedestrians, which results from the significantly high impact force and yet the very little chance of survival. In addition, speeding increases the difficulty of drivers to recognize and react to the movement of pedestrians, especially in dense urban areas where congestion is prevalent.

Putting reduced speed limits in pedestrian-filled areas, and implementing traffic calming techniques, such as speed bumps and designated pedestrian crossings can assist in solving the problem of vehicle speeding and create a safer environment for pedestrians. Through the introduction of a lower speed limit and the implementation of infrastructure suited to pedestrians, authorities can make roads safer for pedestrians and thereby reduce the risk of accidents and deaths caused by traffic collisions.

 

Conclusion

Pedestrian injuries and deaths are soaring throughout the country with some areas suffering record numbers with 83% of fatalities occurring in busy urban areas. In 2022, Oakland, California saw 52 pedestrian collisions resulting in injury or death. Solving this issue requires an integrated multidimensional approach where all factors are given equal importance. Authorities should preferably prioritize road infrastructure improvement and pedestrian security, whilst automobile companies simply ought to focus on the elimination of blind spots and the installation of high-end safety features. Besides that, constructing lower speed limit districts, especially in the residential settlements and strictly keeping traffic regulations and violations under control through regular monitoring, can serve as effective preventive measures. At last, the only way to prevent such deadly incidents is to engage society and do everything to provide pedestrian safety on our roads.

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