As we’ve said before, according to 2005 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 64,000 pedestrians and 45,000 bicyclists were injured in car accidents in that year alone. Nearly 5,000 pedestrians and almost 1,000 bikers were killed that year.
A study just published in the journal Public Health Reports sheds new light on a prominent cause of many of those fatal pedestrian and bike accidents: distracted drivers. Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center combed through NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, or FARS, examining police reports received between 2005 and 2010. They were looking at car accident reports investigators where had concluded were caused by distracted driving, and one surprising trend became clear.
While, overall, fatal motor vehicle accidents have been declining nationwide over the past few years, fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents caused by distracted motorists rose substantially over that five-year period. In fact, distraction-related car-bicycle accidents rose by 30 percent, and those involving pedestrians jumped by almost 50 percent.