Since 2000, the rate of fatal pedestrian accidents in the U.S. increased 37% according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The rates are even higher when we compare today’s data with data from just 15 years ago as pedestrian deaths have risen over 80% since 2008.
In order to address this growing issue, U.S. regulators are working on ways to improve road safety across the country alongside the Biden administration.
New Regulations Could Help Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
In Washington state, we have seen an increase in pedestrian fatalities as well, with the issue being especially concerning in Seattle. Safety advocates have long asked city officials to do more to address this issue. Some of the changes proposed by the NHTSA could also help boost pedestrian safety in the Evergreen state.
At the heart of the proposed changes is a list of rules that would require automakers to produce vehicles fitted with safety features that would minimize injuries to pedestrians’ heads, legs, knees, and pelvis. Regulators estimate that most of these new safety features would change cars’ bumpers, hoods, leading edges, and windshields.
Federal agents hope these changes will fall in line with Europe’s pedestrian safety regulations known as New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). They estimate that designs that facilitate energy absorption and that shift the front-end of vehicles will be the adjustments most commonly adopted by automakers.
Part of these changes would also require new, specific testing to help regulators evaluate the new changes and ensure equal protection to all types of pedestrians.
Automakers Urge Regulators To Avoid Looking At European Standards To Boost Pedestrian Safety
While safety advocates seem content with most of the new proposed changes, some automakers urge U.S. regulators to avoid relying on European regulations to develop their new standards. BMW for instance stated that countries like Germany have different standards when it comes to road quality and safety. Ford is also criticizing some of the new proposals over differences in height rides. Regulators responded to the criticism, remaining firm in their belief that the proposed changes would go a long way in preventing pedestrian deaths across the country.
According to the NHTSA, consumers should welcome the new design changes as “most consumers are also interested in protecting people that share their roads.” They also believe the safety features would add a great deal of value to consumers and to society as a whole.
For more on how regulators are working to boost pedestrian safety nationwide, follow this link.