A recent statement from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that better headlight systems on cars could reduce pedestrian accidents. Although there are other factors at play in the recent spike among pedestrian fatalities in accidents with automobiles, headlights were among the major factors.
It is important to note that from 2007 to 2016, the number of people fatally injured in automobile crashes fell about 14 percent, but the number of pedestrian fatalities rose 27 percent. The NTSB went so far to call it a tragic problem on our nation’s roadways. The NTSB also pointed out that federal rules have stopped adaptive beam headlights, which automatically adjust to oncoming traffic to reduce glare and help drivers see better. This technology is already in place in Europe.
Recent research has shown that headlight design and manufacturing could be improved in the United States and that designers are not typically putting the headlight performance as top priority when some headlight shape designs may be aesthetically pleasing but do not provide optimal performance. At least one auto trade association has stated that it supports adaptive beam headlights, despite resistance at the federal level.
Other Factors Contributing to Pedestrian Fatalities
Other factors that have contributed to pedestrian fatalities are that more drivers are electing to drive sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and that the chances of pedestrian survival in a crash with an SUV are significantly lower than a crash with a car. Car hoods could also be modified to increase the chances of a pedestrian surviving collision impact. These recommendations came from an NTSB sample of 15 crashes involving pedestrians from 2016.
Other factors contributing to pedestrian fatalities are inferior roads, poor road design, poor road lighting, jaywalking, substance use while driving, and distracted driving. Although the NTSB has not released any major studies or statements on distracted driving, this is also a major factor in the increase of pedestrian fatalities since texting and driving is becoming more prevalent among many drivers.
Recommended New Program for Car Manufacturers
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a New Car Assessment Program that would require car manufacturers to include a safety-rating score that would include pedestrian safety performance for new cars. The NTSB recommended that the program be implemented by 2018, but the program has not gained the interest of regulators for the industry. The NHTSA’s findings and recommendations are not binding on federal agencies or the automobile industry.
Philadelphia Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Lessin & Gompers Help Injured Victims of Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident involving pedestrians and motor vehicles, contact a Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer at Lessin & Gompers today. Given new information coming forward about car technology, there are numerous questions about the liability of car manufacturers in pedestrian accidents. Call us at 800-885-2929 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas.