NHTSA Keeps Blaming Victims Instead of Regulating SUVs and Pickups

©. Shutterstock

Activists everywhere were outraged by their latest public service message.

That's a Shutterstock photo of a woman walking on the sidewalk with a cup of coffee. You would think that this would be a perfectly safe thing to do, but evidently it's not; that's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is putting up tweets showing an iStock photo of "a young blonde woman holding an umbrella while walking downtown in the rain" on the sidewalk with the message

"When you are walking, remember to stay alert! Don’t get distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road! Remember, safety is a shared responsibility."

Copyright rules are getting so crazy that I can't even embed the tweet, (you can see the photo here) but she is clearly demonstrating how NOT to walk, looking backwards instead of ahead, which I suppose is why they bought that photo.

This is not new for the NHTSA; Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog wrote how they have been blaming pedestrians for years, even after they knew that the real cause of the increase in pedestrian deaths had nothing to do with cellphones or distracted walking. As Schmitt noted after a Detroit Free Press exposé that we covered:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — the federal agency responsible for auto safety standards — has known since at least 2015 that SUVs, because of how they’re designed, were two to three times more likely to kill pedestrians than cars. But the agency has “done little to reduce deaths or publicize the danger,” the newspapers reported, even as the number of SUVs on the road has exploded. While NHTSA feigned ignorance as to why drivers were killing more pedestrians, it blamed victims for injuries and deaths.

This is why the urban activist community is so outraged. This is what Don Kostalec is putting their own data in their face. Why are they doing this?

Author Jeff Speck got straight to the point.

Richard reiterates the point we have been saying for years: Bring in Intelligent Speed Assistance (AKA governors) like they are doing in Europe.

active bonnet

Euro NCAP Active Bonnet/Public Domain

For that matter, the NHTSA could just do their job and make all American cars comply with strict standards for pedestrian safety, designed to absorb the force of a body hitting it to minimize indury, and make SUVs and light trucks as safe as cars or get rid of them.

Ford Transit with a low front end

© Ford Transit Connect Van

But then they would all look like Ford Transits, which unlike pickup trucks are the real work vehicles that you want on a job site, but were designed to Euro standards and have that effete front end.

Ford pickup

Lloyd Alter/ Condenser side of a CO2 heat pump/CC BY 2.0

There is no reason for a thing like this to be allowed in cities. They are not practical work vehicles, they are just big and expensive and part of an escalation where people don't feel safe anymore unless they have this much metal in front of them.

And the NHTSA doesn't do a thing about it except blame the victim.