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Why are pedestrian accidents rising in the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Car Accidents |

The number of pedestrian accidents across the United States has been on a troubling rise. Over the past decade, the rate of pedestrian deaths has increased, and the numbers continue to rise each year, according to Streetsblog USA.

Understanding the multiple factors that contribute to this increase is important to help keep Minnesota’s roads and sidewalks safe for all.

More traffic and larger vehicles

Increased vehicle traffic is a major reason for the rise in pedestrian accidents. More cars are on the roads and traveling longer distances, which leads to more congested roads. This congestion makes it harder for drivers to spot pedestrians.

A decline in walking also contributes to the danger. Pedestrians tend to be safer in groups, especially when crossing the street. As fewer people walk, drivers become less used to looking out for pedestrians, which increases the risk of accidents.

Another issue is increased ownership of larger vehicles like SUVs and pickups. Because of their size and design, these vehicles are more dangerous to pedestrians. They have higher fronts and larger blind spots, making it difficult for drivers to notice pedestrians, particularly at night when visibility is lower.

New technology and economic changes

Economic changes have also contributed to the increase in pedestrian accidents. As poverty and homelessness spread to the suburbs, more low-income people find themselves living near fast, busy roads that are not designed for walking.

Many roads in the United States do not prioritize pedestrian safety. They often lack basic protective features like proper streetlights, which are important for visibility at night. This makes many towns and suburban communities much more dangerous for pedestrians walking at night.

In addition, technology, such as smartphones and GPS systems, has led to more distracted driving, which is a big risk factor for pedestrian accidents. Drivers who are looking at their devices are less likely to notice pedestrians. This problem is worse in the United States, where automatic cars make it easier for drivers to use their devices.

Pedestrians and drivers alike should remain alert and follow traffic laws, especially at night. Through increased awareness and policy changes, Minnesota’s streets can become safer.