Even as automobile technology advances, American sidewalks are getting more and more deadly to pedestrians. In fact, figures from the Governors Highway Safety Administration estimate that the year 2020 may have one of the largest one-year increases in pedestrian death rates ever, in spite of overall lower traffic levels.
However, many of the issues surrounding rising pedestrian death rates have little to do with current events. In fact, much has to do with current car trends. Additionally, recent breakdowns of pedestrian death statistics reveal that minority pedestrians are more likely to die as compared to White pedestrians.
What do cars have to do with it?
SUVs are very popular in the United States. In fact, SUVs have been outperforming traditional passenger cars for several years in overall sales. This is problematic for pedestrians, as SUVs are far more dangerous for a pedestrian in a crash. Additionally, the federal government only mandates that safety tests focus on the occupants of a vehicle. This means that most cars do not undergo testing focused on how safe they are for pedestrian victims.
Why are minorities more likely to die as pedestrians?
It is highly likely that this surprising statistic relates to the fact that minorities are more likely to be pedestrians as compared to non-POC Americans. This problem relates back to the overall lack of pedestrian infrastructure in American cities: it is extremely dangerous to be a pedestrian in much of the United States.
In order to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities, local groups have worked to narrow roads, make sidewalks bigger, and install rumble strips and speed bumps.