Whether walking through a parking lot, across a street or running along a sidewalk or path, pedestrians in Illinois deserve to feel safe. Unfortunately, new data released from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Association report a dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities across the United States. 

CNBC reported that, according to the GHSA, pedestrian deaths grew by 41% during the 10 years spanning from 2008 to 2018. Today, pedestrians account for 16% of all vehicular fatalities nationwide. 

The Verge provided details on an NHTSA report that found some good news in that overall motor vehicle traffic fatalities between 2017 and 2018 decreased by 3.4%. However, at the same time, pedestrian fatalities increased by the same amount. The nearly 6,300 people on foot killed in 2018 represent the highest number of pedestrians killed in the U.S. in 28 years. 

Some believe that drivers’ preference for large vehicles like sport utility vehicles contributes to this deadly trend. The height of these vehicles impedes a driver’s ability to see pedestrians. In addition, when a pedestrian is hit by a taller vehicle, the impact tends to be received in the torso or the head instead of the legs. Impact to a head or torso may result in more severe injuries and outcomes. Advanced safety features like pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems fail too frequently. One AAA study evaluated these features in which pedestrian dummies were still hit more than half of the time. The study took place in the daylight at speeds of no more than 20 miles per hour.