Pedestrian accidents, deaths on the rise, study finds - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Pedestrian accidents, deaths on the rise, study finds

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(WKOW) -- New research shows pedestrian-involved car accidents are on the rise, and are becoming more deadly.

The study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows pedestrian deaths have jumped 46 percent since reaching an all-time low in 2009.

They found pedestrians are more likely to be hit in urban or suburban areas and along busy roadways. Most accidents also happen after dark and far from intersections.

Some officials say poor road design could be part of the problem.

"When people are forced to walk long distances to the nearest signalized intersection, they are more likely to choose the riskier option of sprinting across multiple lanes of traffic," said IIHS President David Harkey. "Communities can improve safety by providing more options to safely cross."

Not only are pedestrians getting hit more often, they are increasingly likely to die in crashes. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2016 -- more than 15 percent of all crash fatalities.

The IIHS says vans and SUVs with tall, flat front ends are more likely to inflict severe injuries on pedestrians when hit than sedans, with lower front ends. Taller, flatter-shaped cars tend to strike people in the head or chest, while lower, more gradual front ends which tend to hit pedestrians at the hips or waist. They say the blunt shape, coupled with the greater power of larger vehicles, makes SUVs and vans deadlier than smaller cars.

Solutions suggested by IIHS include redesigning front ends of SUVs, enforcing speed limits more aggressively, building crossing medians for multi-lane roads, adding sidewalks and bike lanes along busy streets, installing brighter headlights in vehicles, and developing more intelligent front-crash prevention systems for cars.

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