There are no good car accidents. They become especially worse when the victim is a pedestrian crossing the road with no airbags to protect them from the impact. The results of pedestrian accidents are often grim: severe injuries and fatalities are not uncommon.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report on pedestrian safety, including the results of their studies on how vehicle characteristics factor into the seriousness of the harm done to the person when a vehicle hits them. The federal government agency gathered and dissected data from 2008 to 2018.

Three major factors

The GAO says that three main vehicle characteristics factor into the severity of pedestrian crashes:

  • Age of the vehicle
  • Size of the vehicle
  • Speed of the vehicle at the moment of impact

There is a higher chance that a pedestrian accident will result in a fatality increases when the vehicle involved is 11 years or older. The GAO noted that sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have a higher chance of killing a pedestrian because of their size and weight.

The GAO also stated that the inclusion of pedestrian crash avoidance technology (cameras, radar, etc.) can help drivers avoid people on foot. They said that about 60 percent of all 2019 vehicles featured pedestrian crash avoidance technology as either standard equipment or as an option.

Older, faster, bigger

The GAO analysis of crash data from the preceding decade revealed that pedestrian fatality rates increased for wrecks involving the following types of vehicles:

  • SUVs: these bigger, heavier vehicles increased fatality rates by 68 percent
  • Cars that are 11 years old or older: aged vehicles showed a 123 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities
  • Speeding vehicles: unsurprisingly, pedestrian accidents involving vehicles traveling at 31 mph and above had a fatality increase of 45 percent compared to vehicles traveling at lower speeds

Perhaps these factors seem obvious to some. Regardless, this information is crucial towards helping pedestrians and automakers make better decisions.

While 37 percent of new vehicles offer pedestrian automatic emergency braking systems, there has been research recently questioning the effectiveness of the features.

Let’s hope the auto industry pays attention to the report and offers designs and safety features in the coming years that can slow the growth in pedestrian accidents. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a pedestrian crash, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation can help you seek coverage.