Everyone deserves safe routes to walk, bike, and roll, wherever they are going. In America, that’s hardly the case. For over a decade, the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed on our streets has steadily risen every year and the size and design of today’s cars, SUVs, and trucks fuel this epidemic.
America Walks advocates for safer vehicle design standards that tackle directly why so many people outside of cars are hurt or killed on our streets. We’ve required safety features that protect vehicle occupants for decades. It’s time to put similar protections into place that save the lives of people outside cars.
What needs to change? We know that excessive vehicle size, poor visibility from the driver’s seat, and driving over the speed limit all contribute to dangerous conditions. SUVs and pickup trucks when they hit a pedestrian are two to three times more likely to kill that person than a passenger car, especially when driving over the speed limit. And the blind spots of SUVs and pickup trucks make their drivers three to four times more likely to hit a pedestrian when turning.
Creating safer vehicles requires a comprehensive approach. Technologies like pedestrian automatic emergency braking and intelligent speed assistance can mitigate the danger caused by vehicle design flaws, but the flaws themselves must be addressed as well. We call for smaller and safer hoods and bumpers that reduce the impact of being struck and direct visibility requirements that allow drivers to see people outside of vehicles, without having to monitor a separate screen.
We are urging the federal government to update safety standards, supporting local efforts to tax or regulate oversize vehicles, and urging that government fleets install safety equipment in their own fleets without waiting for regulation.