Traffic Fatalities Have Risen Over 60% in the Past 10 Years
With the growing number of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit and killed by motor vehicles, Ira S. Slavit, a partner with the Mineola law firm Levine & Slavit PLLC, says the growing number of fatalities on the road can be attributed to the increased sales of larger vehicles such as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks that, while considered safer, are more likely to be involved in such collisions due to the vehicles’ larger blind zones on these vehicles.
According to government data, while the number of fatal auto crashes increased 43% between 2011 and 2022 from 29,867 to 42,795, the number of deaths involving pedestrians and cyclists went up 64% during the same time period to an estimated 8,413 fatalities. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center released a report in January which showed that, although the newer, larger vehicles contain more safety features to protect the driver and its passengers, their size has also created larger blind spots, putting bicyclists and pedestrians at greater risk.
“It used to be that speeding contributed to a majority of motor vehicle fatalities,” Mr. Slavit says. “While that still is the case, we are seeing bicyclists and pedestrians getting killed in ‘frontover’ incidents by slower-moving SUVs and pickup trucks. The driver is so high up inside the vehicle, they cannot see who is in front of them or next to them, resulting in tragic consequences.”
Mr. Slavit says drivers should not just rely on cameras to see if there is anyone around them. “They should check over their shoulder and look behind them before making any turns,” he says. “Remember: if they can’t see you, you can’t see them. By being more aware, you can avert future tragedies.”