In recent years, there has been a disconcerting trend on American roadways. Fatalities are on the rise, even as many types of experts tout new cars as safer than ever before.
This issue merits attention, as it affects the safety of all road users, from drivers to pedestrians and cyclists.
A deadly conundrum
Despite advancements in vehicle safety technology, the numbers tell a worrying story. The overall number of car-related fatalities in the United States has been steadily increasing. This should raise a red flag for anyone who believes that modern vehicles should be getting safer.
Pedestrians and cyclists in peril
The most alarming aspect of this trend is the stark rise in fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists. Between 2011 and 2022, fatalities in this group surged by over 60%. These vulnerable road users now face a greater risk than ever before, a paradoxical situation given the progress in car safety.
The influence of larger vehicles
One major factor contributing to this trend is the growing popularity of larger vehicles, such as SUVs, pickup trucks and vans. While these vehicles offer a sense of security to their occupants, they pose a severe threat to pedestrians and cyclists in the event of an accident.
Another concerning aspect is the design of larger vehicles, which can create visibility problems for drivers. Left-turn crashes involving pedestrians are more likely to involve SUVs and pickups, indicating difficulties for drivers in spotting pedestrians, especially at intersections.
Unfortunately, current safety ratings in the United States primarily consider the safety of people inside the vehicle. This approach neglects to account for the safety of those outside the vehicle. This is a glaring oversight that demands immediate attention.