At multiple points through a typical day, the average person in Pennsylvania finds themselves in the position of being a pedestrian. This may involve going out for a morning run or walk, making one’s way through a parking lot to get into a grocery store or mall, or even simply walking through a parking garage to get from their car into their place of work. Any time a person is on foot among traffic, they risk being one of the growing number of pedestrian fatalities.

Sadly, in both Pennsylvania and across the nation, 2018 saw a marked rise in the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 197 people on foot died in Pennsylvania last year, up 50 from the 147 who died in 2017. The 2018 pedestrian deaths in the state was the highest on record in the prior 10 years.

Nationally, the picture is no better. A report by The Verge indicates that 2018 saw a jump in pedestrian fatalities by 3.4% at the same time that overall vehicular fatalities dropped by 2.4%. The number of pedestrians who died in 2018 across the U.S. was higher than in any year since 1990.

New vehicle technologies designed to improve safety and prevent collisions seem ineffective much of the time. AAA conducted a study using vehicles equipped with pedestrian detection and automatic braking features. The vehicles traveled at 20 miles per hour in the daylight and still hit pedestrian dummies in six out of 10 instances. The failure rate of these technologies increases during dark hours.