A confusing and alarming trend is showing itself across the United States: more and more pedestrians are dying each year. In fact, the number of pedestrian deaths topped six thousand in 2018, which was the highest reported in 30 years.
It is true that many urban areas, including in California, lack robust pedestrian infrastructure. However, experts surmise a lack of infrastructure is not the main reason behind these raising numbers. Instead, they point toward the increased number of SUVs in the United States as well as the popularity of smartphones.
What do SUVs have to do with it?
Market share in SUVs has gone up exponentially since 2013. In fact, in this year, the consumers purchasing SUVs outpaced the number of consumers purchasing regular cars for the first time. This is bad news for pedestrians, as pedestrians who get hit by SUVs are much more likely to die as compared to those involved in an accident with a sedan or coupe.
SUVs are much heavier and higher up than regular cars, making them much more deadly for pedestrians.
What about smartphones?
Both drivers and pedestrians are guilty of looking at their smartphones rather than paying attention to their surroundings. This means that pedestrians and drivers alike are less likely to have their eyes on the road. If a pedestrian and driver are both looking at their smartphone screens rather than the road or the intersection, it is highly likely that a tragedy will strike.
However, any form of distracted driving is extremely dangerous for pedestrians. Drivers yelling at their children or putting on lipstick in the car are just as dangerous as those who are trying to send off a text.