There haven’t been this many pedestrian deaths in this country in 30 years. Why?
The findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report show that many of these deaths occurred in big cities like Houston and Miami.
The signs are all over most cities — stretches of road without crosswalks and people needing to walk on roads built for rush-hour traffic. But the real increase, experts say, comes from larger trends: drivers and pedestrians distracted by their phones and a growth of larger vehicles on the road.
“Looking at the various metrics available, the ones that pop out to me are distraction related to smartphone use and the market share increase in SUVs.”
Since 2013, the number of consumers buying light trucks has far outpaced those buying cars. “There’s no question that pedestrians hit by SUVs are more likely to die than those hit by a car,” he said. SUVs are bigger, heavier and deadlier for pedestrians.
Compounding that problem are smartphones. Both walkers and drivers use cell data 4,000 percent more than they did in 2008, which means they aren’t watching the roads. Retting said he would like to see autonomous pedestrian sensor technology added to more vehicles. The technology does exist but isn’t widespread, and it won’t be in most cars anytime soon since most vehicles on the road today are at least 10 years old.