Traffic fatalities nationwide moving up for people who walk, bicycle, down for drivers: How policy decisions drive the dynamic | Slate

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American consumers have increasingly opted for cars that make drivers safer and pedestrians more vulnerable, as pedestrian deaths have reached crisis levels. More than 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the United States are pickups or SUVS, up from 49 percent a decade ago. (Ford has all but stopped U.S. production of cars.) The SUV revolution, a Detroit Free Press/USA Today investigation concluded last summer, is “a leading cause of escalating pedestrian deaths nationwide.”

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released projections for roadway fatalities in 2018: For the second year in a row, overall traffic deaths fell, while pedestrians fatalities rose, and cyclist deaths jumped by 10 percent over 2017. “America’s roads are safe increasingly for only those who drive on them,” Aaron Short wrote at Streetsblog.

It caps a bloody decade on the road for anyone outside a car. In February, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that more than 6,200 pedestrians died in 2018—the highest number in a generation, and an increase of 50 percent from 2009. The GHSA says SUVs are partially responsible: Their involvement in fatal crashes is up 50 percent, compared with 30 percent for sedans. (If you’re wondering if lives were saved overall by this shift, thanks to the prisoner’s-dilemma incentive to adopt tanklike vehicles, the answer is no: The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is the same as it was in 2009—it’s just that pedestrians account for 16 percent of traffic deaths now, up from 12 percent.)

MoBikeFed comment: Making streets safer for all users takes a deep commitment on the part of policy makers. We are not seeing that in our current national safety standards, which revolve around the safety of the driver and vehicle passengers, and give scant consideration to others.