A US watchdog group has recommended that federal authorities be more proactive and act to reduce pedestrian accident deaths.
The Government Accountability Office is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take more steps to reduce pedestrian accident fatalities. The National highway Traffic Safety Administration has embarked on a few initiatives to help keep pedestrians safer, but unfortunately, the agency does not seem to have followed up on these efforts with the result that pedestrian fatalities continue to sky rocket.
For instance, Government Accountability Office data shows that pedestrian account fatalities tend to involve vehicles with certain characteristics. For example, older cars that have been around for 11 years or more, cars traveling at greater than 30 miles per hour as well as sports utility vehicles are much more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents. The National highway Traffic Safety Administration does not yet have programs in place that can collect such data and analyze it. The agency launched a pilot program in 2018 that was meant for this purpose, but has not decided yet on whether to expand the program.
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also proposed that its New Car Assessment program include pedestrian safety tests. This was a commendable initiative that would have gone a long way in helping minimize the risk to pedestrians on the road. In this case too, the agency has also failed to provide clear guidelines to automakers, hindering the development of newer pedestrian safety features in automobiles.
The Government Accountability Office is recommending that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration evaluate its pilot program, and expand its assessment program for new cars to pedestrian safety in order to scale back the increase in pedestrian fatalities.
In 2018, the most recent year for which confirmed statistics are available, there were 6,300 pedestrians killed in accidents across the US. That was an increase from the previous year. Viewed against the backdrop of the decline in traffic accident deaths overall, it should be a cause for worry.