Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities rose sharply in 2018

Many of the new vehicles on sale in Nevada and around the country are equipped with advanced safety systems that are designed to protect their occupants in an accident, but figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggest that these features do little to save the lives of cyclists or pedestrians. According to NHTSA, pedestrian deaths rose by 4% in 2018, and cyclist fatalities surged by a worrying 10%. These are the highest pedestrian and cyclist death tolls in three decades.

Most road safety experts blame the recent surge in fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents on cellphone use and distracted driving. Stricter laws and more vigorous enforcement have done little to remedy the problem, but autonomous vehicle safety systems that require no driver input could provide a solution. Experts say that automatic emergency braking systems could save hundreds of cyclist and pedestrian lives each year, but most vehicles currently on sale are not equipped with them. However, auto manufacturers have vowed to make the technology standard equipment on all cars sold in America by 2022.

Road safety advocacy groups say that the government is not doing nearly enough to protect the nation’s most vulnerable road users. European lawmakers have recently introduced tougher pedestrian and cyclist safety standards, but Congress has been resisting similar changes for years. The popularity of pickup trucks and SUVs in the United States adds to the problem because these vehicles have blunt rather than angled front ends. This means that pedestrians are struck directly rather than being lifted onto the hood.

Electronic evidence is often used to establish distraction in car accident lawsuits. This is why experienced personal injury attorneys may use subpoenas to obtain cellphone records and internet activity when preparing this kind of litigation. Automobiles with advanced safety systems might also provide this type of evidence as they usually feature black box-type devices under the hood that store the data recorded by onboard cameras, radar and LiDAR.

John P. Aldrich
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