NTSB: Improved car design, infrastructure, data use could prevent pedestrian deaths
- The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released the results of a special investigative report about pedestrian safety that it began in 2016, with recommendations to improve pedestrian safety.
- The report offers vehicle-based changes, infrastructure improvements and data needs for improving pedestrian safety, with a large focus lying in improving vehicle design. Recommendations include: change federal safety standards to allow adaptive headlight standards; incorporate pedestrian safety systems, such as collision avoidance systems, in vehicles; expand support of state and local safety projects; and develop and implement a plan for state and local governments to collect and use pedestrian safety and highway accident data.
- The recommendations in the report are addressed to three groups that are capable of making some of the suggested changes: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The NTSB investigated 15 pedestrian deaths for its report, representative of the average 15 pedestrian deaths that occurred each day when it started the project. That rose to 16 by the time the project was complete.
The recommendations heavily skew toward improving vehicle design, especially for driving at night when a large proportion of serious pedestrian accidents occur. Thus, the ideas for better, stronger headlights and collision mitigation systems. The report also detailed changes to certain vehicle body parts — such as front bumpers — that could lessen the damage to a pedestrian if an accident does occur.
The report "recognizes the needs of local transportation planning work to improve pedestrian safety." The federal government's support is based on data collected at the state level, which relies on data collected at the local level. Inaccurate or incomplete data means that cities won't necessarily be able to properly work toward the right solutions for reducing pedestrian accidents and deaths in their area. Thus, the report provided recommendations for NHTSA, FHA and the CDC to work on plans for better data collection and use.
The NTSB extracted the main points from its full investigation for this report summary and it plans to release the full report and recommendations as soon as final revisions are complete. The full report will include further details on the board's rationale for its recommendations.
- National Transportation Safety Board Highway Special Investigation Report: Pedestrian Safety
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