Nationwide reports shows increase in pedestrian deaths

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC News) – Federal oversight officials have released a new report that shows a shocking spike in pedestrian deaths.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pedestrian deaths nationwide have increased every year since 2009, with an average of 16 people being killed each day.

“We’re up to nearly 6000 pedestrian fatalities each year in the U.S. and that’s a figure that we have to drive down,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt.

The NTSB detailed 11 recommendations in the report, calling on regulators to update standards so the industry can utilize vehicle technology that could better protect pedestrians.

“We actually found we need better headlights, believe it or not,” said Sumwalt. “Newer headlight standards are necessary since about 3 quarters of the fatalities of the pedestrians occur at night.”

Federal rules have blocked adaptive beam headlights that automatically adjust, but they’re legal and commonplace in Europe, where pedestrian fatalities have dropped 40 percent over the past decade.

The NTSB also recommended design changes to hoods and bumpers to reduce pedestrian injuries, and that pedestrian safety be part of new car safety ratings.

The report focused mainly on vehicle and regulatory improvements, saying more research has to be done to determine the cause of the increase in pedestrian deaths.

The NTSB hopes shining a light on car safety technology and outdated regulations will do just that.

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