The number of cyclists and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in Minnesota and around the country rose sharply in 2018 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian deaths rose by 4% and cyclist fatalities surged by an alarming 10%. This is the highest pedestrian death toll since 1990 and the most cyclists killed since 1988. Road safety experts say rising pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are most likely caused by cellphone use and a worrying increase in distracted driving.
Technology has been developed in recent years that could protect vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists, but it is currently offered on fewer than half of the cars sold in the United States. Another problem is the popularity of vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks that do not feature angled front ends that would lift cyclists or pedestrians up over the hood in a crash. Instead, they feature blunt front ends that studies have found cause far more serious injuries in pedestrian accidents.
Carmakers have committed to making automatic emergency braking systems standard on all passenger vehicles sold in America by 2022 even though federal regulations do not require them to do so. However, these systems are designed primarily to reduce accident damage and protect vehicle occupants. Stricter pedestrian and cyclist regulations were recently put into place in Europe, but Congress has been reluctant to impose similar standards in the United States.
When taking legal action on behalf of pedestrian or bicycle accident victims, experienced personal injury attorneys may consult with trauma doctors and neurologists before determining damages. This might be done to ensure that the compensation being sought is sufficient to cover the costs of long-term health care and physical rehabilitation. Medical experts could tell attorneys how long their clients will be unable to work due to the injuries they suffered at the hands of a negligent driver.