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Lack of NHTSA oversight a factor in pedestrian-auto accidents

On Behalf of | May 11, 2020 | Personal Injury

Tennessee pedestrians are vulnerable to injuries and fatalities in a motor vehicle accident. Since they have no protection, the damage can be catastrophic with head injuries, back injuries, broken bones, and death. Government agencies are tasked with analyzing these collisions and formulating strategies to reduce their number. Given the inherent risks to pedestrians including distracted drivers, recklessness, speeding and drivers who are intoxicated, it is important to understand these issues, especially after a pedestrian has been injured or a family has lost a loved one in a crash.

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not taken sufficient action to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. Part of the problem, according to the GAO, is that the NHTSA has not implemented testing procedures for newer vehicles and assessing pedestrian safety. There were nearly 6,300 pedestrian fatalities in 2018. That was a rise of 3.4% from 2017 and the most pedestrian deaths since 1990. For bicyclists, there was an increase in fatalities by 6.3%. Troublingly, this is getting worse.

Vehicles that are frequently involved in pedestrian accidents are SUVs and other types of light trucks. There is a perceived link between the number of these vehicles that are sold – 73% of the market in 2019 – and the spike in pedestrian crashes. In 2015, these vehicles comprised 57% of the market. Their size, weight and level of available distractions has enhanced this risk. The NHTSA has known about these numbers for more than 10 years and the GAO says it has not done enough to stop it. Other countries have practiced testing for pedestrian safety, but the NHTSA has not yet compelled automakers to do so. The possibility that governmental intervention could reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities has been largely ignored by the NHTSA.

This research not only shows that the NHTSA has been lacking in its oversight, but it emphasized the danger that pedestrians are confronted with when they are walking the streets. Being hit by a vehicle of any kind can cause dramatic life changes. In a worst-case scenario, people will lose their lives. A legal filing can be beneficial for recovering compensation for all that was lost. Calling for a consultation with a firm experienced in auto accidents may help.