Across Texas, people on foot struggle to remain safe when crossing streets, walking through parking lots or in any number of other scenarios forcing them to share the road with motor vehicles.
In 2009, pedestrians accounted for just over 11% of the state’s total motor vehicular fatalities according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By 2016, pedestrians represented close to 18% of all people killed in automobile accidents in Texas.
Pedestrian deaths versus total vehicular deaths
While pedestrian deaths in Texas increased between 2009 and 2016, so too did overall vehicular deaths. In 2009, 3,104 people died in vehicular accidents, 350 of which were pedestrians. In 2016, 675 of the 3,797 people killed in accidents were pedestrians.
However, by 2018, a dangerous trend emerged. Total vehicular fatalities in the state declined to 3,732 in 2017 and 3,642 in 2018. Pedestrian fatalities dropped first in 2017 to 608 but started to rise again in 2018 even as total deaths declined.
Vehicle technology failure
Despite lofty claims of improving safety, new vehicle technologies designed to detect pedestrians and prevent vehicles from hitting them seems far from achieving its stated goals. Consumer Reports indicates that one AAA study concluded these systems are completely ineffective at night, when three out of four pedestrian deaths occur.
In daylight conditions, a test vehicle driving at a mere 20 miles per hour struck an adult pedestrian dummy in a crosswalk in 60% of test scenarios. Smaller child-sized dummies fared even worse than their adult counterparts, with vehicles striking them close to 90% of the time.