Pedestrian deaths have reached a 25 year high, with nearly 6,000 people killed in 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. That's a serious spike after fatalities dipped to historic lows just a decade prior in 2009. That year, less than 4,000 people were struck and killed by vehicles on the road.
The recent surge in pedestrian fatalities comes at a time when traffic crashes are becoming safer for people inside the vehicles. So why are pedestrian deaths up 46 percent in the past 10 years? Researchers point to many factors, including higher speed limits, distracted driving and the proliferation of SUVs and pickup trucks on the road. When it comes to preventative measures to save pedestrian lives, the data is hard to gather on distracted driving. There is available data on the deadly effects of SUV crashes, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet changed its vehicle safety rating system to include a new score for pedestrian safety.
Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss what could account for the sharp rise in pedestrian deaths and efforts to reverse the trend is University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science Assistant Professor and Head of the Next Mobility Lab Dr. Jiaqi Ma.
Tune in to Cincinnati Edition Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. to hear this segment.