As consumers continue to show a preference for large vehicles like sport utility vehicles or pickup trucks, people on foot may find themselves facing greater risks.
A report by The Verge indicates that pedestrians may experiences more severe outcomes when struck by large vehicles compared to sedans or other smaller vehicles. Even some new vehicle technology aimed at reducing pedestrian accidents seems unable to fully protect this vulnerable population.
Safety systems may not always work
A study conducted by AAA evaluated the effectiveness of pedestrian detection and automatic braking systems in preventing or mitigating the impact of pedestrian accidents. Even when a test vehicle traveled at only 20 miles per hour in broad daylight, it managed to hit the pedestrian dummy walking directly in front of it 60% of the time. The study scenarios involving child-sized pedestrians, dark conditions or pedestrians on the side of the road returned even worse results.
Pedestrian deaths rise in Florida
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 467 pedestrians died in motor vehicle accidents in Florida in 2009. Those deaths represented 18% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities that year. Ten years later, a total of 704 people on foot lost their lives in car crashes. These fatalities accounted for 22% of all accident deaths in Florida in 2018.
Between 2014 and 2018, more pedestrians died in Marion County than in any of its neighboring counties. Marion County was the location of 60 pedestrian deaths in those five years alone. Lake County recorded 49 pedestrian deaths and Alachua County recorded another 32.