Despite an overall decline in traffic deaths, more pedestrians died on U.S. roadways last year than at any time over the past three decades—continuing a troubling trend even as more cars come with advanced crash avoidance systems.
Highway fatalities fell 2.4 percent in 2018, the second year in a row they have fallen. That makes the reported pedestrian death tally of 6,283—a 3.4 percent increase—all the more alarming, says Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. There were 53 percent more pedestrians killed last year than in 2009.
The annual death toll—released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—underscores the need for pedestrian detection and other proven safety technology to come as standard equipment on all new vehicles, Fisher says.
“This is an epidemic of preventable deaths,” he says. “We need to double down to figure out how to achieve better pedestrian detection and more widespread adoption.”