Pedestrians are more likely to die than ever before on many of America’s roads. In 2018, over 6,000 pedestrians died from traffic accidents, which was the highest in almost 30 years.
There are many factors affecting these staggeringly high numbers. Many point to the comparative lack of infrastructure in many of America’s biggest cities as the culprit. While this is a factor, since the number of sidewalks in the US is not actively decreasing it is not the major driver of the spiraling numbers. In reality, it is the popularity of the SUV and the smartphone that are likely driving the numbers.
What does the SUV have to do with it?
In 2013, the number of consumers purchasing light trucks and SUVs eclipsed the number of consumers purchasing traditional cars. This switch in automobile preference is one of the reasons why pedestrian deaths have been on the rise.
It is far more dangerous for a SUV to hit a pedestrian as compared to a regular sedan. SUVs are bigger and heavier. Thus, they are likely to cause much more damage to a human.
Why does the smartphone matter?
The smartphone is a problem on both the part of the driver and the part of the pedestrian. Both pedestrians and drivers use cell phone data a whopping 4000 percent more than they did back in 2008. This means that both parties are paying less attention to their immediate surroundings.
Distracted driving in general, however, is very dangerous. Distracted driving can also include putting on makeup in the car, eating or even talking to somebody else in the vehicle with you. All of these things take your attention away from driving and can increase the likelihood of a crash.