Articles Tagged with pedestrian accident

Pedestrian deaths had been on a decline since 1980 onward. However, since 2009, there have been a rising number of pedestrian deaths on America’s roads; this increase was bumped further during the pandemic. In fact, pedestrian fatalities have increased faster than other kinds of traffic-related deaths. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, which analyzed government data on this point, in 2022, a minimum of 7508 people died after being hit by U.S. drivers. The New York Times’s “The Upshot” tried to come up with answers to this surge in pedestrian death using the hivemind of its readers. These answers ranged from increased smartphone use to increasing podcasts and cataracts.

Some of the reader theories seemed stronger, the Upshot suggested. These included LED headlights, streetlight design, aging drivers, and fewer pedestrians, which has meant fewer norms around safety in driving around pedestrians.

One of the most common issues raised by readers was that brighter LED lights, which are intended to help drivers navigate at night are blinding for both pedestrians and oncoming cars, which can lead to death. However, researchers have found that while LED lights are brighter, but they are also becoming safer. The safety ratings for headlights have improved, too; the higher the rating of the headlight, the lower the collision rates, including car crashes with pedestrians, which suggests they haven’t seriously contributed to increased pedestrian death. Similarly, if people were blinded by headlights, thereby causing fatalities among pedestrians, passenger and driver deaths would have gone up, too, which they had not.

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Although the number of traffic deaths had been falling since the late 1960s, a change attributed to lower speed limits, vehicle improvements, and drunk driving declines, the New York Times recently reported that these deaths have been on the rise across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts were surprised; they had anticipated a decline due to largely empty roads. However, the pandemic increased frustration and anger, which in turn triggered aggressive driving, and this aggression continued later in the pandemic when more people began driving again.

According to analysis of federal data, per capita vehicle deaths rose 17.5% between the summer of 2019 to the summer of 2020, the largest two year increase since immediately following World War II. In one instance, a man was killed by a driver who had run a red light while he was crossing the street with his family after attending a holiday lights display.

A cognitive scientist commented to the Times that the aggressive behavior could be attributed to dissipation of angry energy by pressing harder on the accelerator. The Department of Transportation also reported that the proportion of drivers who tested positive for opioids doubled after mid-March in 2020 when mitigation of the pandemic started, and positive tests for marijuana increased by around 50%.

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