In recent years, drivers in Ohio and throughout the country have made SUVs increasingly popular. However, according to a report from the USA Today and the Detroit Free Press, SUVs may be one of the causes of a rising pedestrian death rate. These vehicles weigh more, which means that they have momentum when striking a pedestrian and can cause significant injuries.
A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015 found that pedestrians were more likely to die when hit by an SUV than by a regular passenger vehicle. While changes were going to be made to the New Car Assessment Program, the NHTSA does not have a leader in place. Furthermore, opposition from automakers has caused proposed changes to safety ratings to be delayed. However, there are ways that cities can take action without the need for cars to be redesigned.
For instance, giving pedestrians more time to cross streets could reduce the risk of a fatality. Reducing the number of lanes or increasing the number of medians on a given roadway could also make it less likely that a pedestrian will be struck by a car. Automakers could decide to add external airbags to mitigate the potential impact of a collision between a car and a pedestrian.
If a person is killed because of the actions of a negligent driver, the victim's family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Negligent acts by a driver may include running a red light, running a stop sign or otherwise failing to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. If a claim is successful, it may be possible for the victim's family to obtain compensation for lost future earnings or medical bills incurred.