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NHTSA Releases Report on Crashes Involving Pedestrians in the U.S. – Siemens VDO Automotive Responds

 

Washington, D.C. -  Watch where you’re walking – it could be dangerous to your health.  Nearly one in five pedestrians killed on America's roadways is the victim of a hit-and-run crash, according to a major research report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The report, NHTSA's most recent analysis of pedestrian fatalities, indicates that young children, as well as seniors, are especially likely to be the victims of fatal crashes involving pedestrians.  

More than a fifth of all children ages 5 to 9 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. The age group with the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities are those 70 and over. "Clearly, some of the most vulnerable members of our society – the young and elderly –are often the victims of serious pedestrian crashes. And the involvement of alcohol in many of these fatal crashes makes them especially senseless," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. Pedestrian fatalities now account for about 12 percent of all deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in the country.  

The new NHTSA report analyzes the incidence of pedestrian fatalities in single vehicle crashes, which accounted for more than 90 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. The report focuses on pedestrian fatalities between 1998 and 2001.

Among the report's key findings about pedestrian deaths are these:

*        18 percent involve hit-and-run crashes.

*        78 percent occur at non-intersections.

*        44 percent occur on roadways without crosswalks.

*        64 percent occur on urban roadways.

*        63 percent of pedestrians killed are male.

*        18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between midnight and 6 a.m.

*        46 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and midnight.

 

And in a related story,  Siemens  VDO Automotive is addressing the growing global concern regarding increased incidents of pedestrian injuries caused by vehicles by extending safety beyond occupant protection.  The company is utilizing its global network of innovation to respond to an escalating number of pedestrian/vehicle accidents in Europe. 

Recently, the European Union (EU) and international automobile manufacturers have set a goal to reduce by half the number of victims of pedestrian/vehicle accidents by 2010.  United States safety organizations and regulators are intently observing this initiative with the possibility of pursuing similar actions to improve pedestrian safety in the American traffic environment. 

Passengers have enjoyed increasing protection over the past few years from elaborate safety systems ranging from airbags to electronic stability programs. As auto manufacturers are being held to a higher safety standard for drivers and passengers, they’re now addressing safety outside the vehicle.   

Siemens Restraint Systems has been studying and exploring various pedestrian protection strategies.  Recent crash tests conducted by the organization utilizing sophisticated dummies demonstrated that added space under the hood may reduce the risk of serious

injury.  Altering hood and engine compartment design to move components such as the battery, hood lock or motor parts out of the pedestrian impact area has yielded findings indicating a reduced risk of serious injury.  In addition, Siemens VDO Automotive is pursuing pedestrian and bicyclist active accident protection systems where the vehicle hood will lift when coming into contact with a pedestrian to create an enhanced crush zone.  The feasibility of external airbags, moveable bumpers and other active cushions are also being researched.


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