We frequently hear from auto makers about their cars’ new and improved safety features. These features have greatly reduced the total number of fatalities and serious injuries resulting from auto accidents. But surrounding passengers in high-tech airbags doesn’t help those hit by the vehicles.
Each year in central Arkansas, about 200 pedestrians and cyclists are involved in crashes with vehicles, which results in an average of 107 serious injuries and 13 fatalities1. Pedestrian/cyclist fatalities and serious injuries continue to make up greater and greater proportions of those harmed in accidents (currently over 12%), as passengers become more and more protected during accidents.
Little Rock has the highest numbers of pedestrian and cyclist auto-accident injuries, as seen in the chart below.
Thankfully, efforts have been implemented to better protect pedestrians, and more are on their way. These include:
- Improved city planning and road upkeep, such as the use of bike lanes, putting flashing signals at crosswalks, and better marking roads to reduce driver confusion.
- Efforts began decades ago to reduce the likelihood of injuries to pedestrians through redesigning elements like the bumper, hood, windshield, etc. The redesigned elements are softer when hit, without compromising structural integrity.2 For example, a minimum of 0.8 inches of space is required between your hood and the engine components.
- The car industry is trialling sensors that automatically stop vehicles when dangerously approaching pedestrians, and some variations of this are already available on select vehicles.
- Autonomous vehicles take the sensors mentioned above to the next level, by making the car’s automated interactions with pedestrians part of the vehicle’s day-to-day task of driving.
Visit here to learn about your legal rights as a pedestrian or cyclist, and what to do if you’re in an accident.