Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

6 Times NHTSA Scolded Pedestrians When It Knew SUVs Were Killing Them

1:48 PM PDT on July 3, 2018

Since 2009, the U.S. has seen a 45 percent increase in pedestrian deaths. In the last year, motorists took the lives of some 6,000 people who were just trying to walk from A to B.

While this was happening, government officials acted like they weren't sure what was causing it.

But thanks to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press and USA Today we now know the popularity of SUVs is the most likely explanation. 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. Below are six examples of the NHTSA using Twitter to blame deceased pedestrians since 2015.

nhtsa tweet 2
false

Here NHTSA acknowledges the increase in fatalities but offers no explanation:

Here it admonishes pedestrians to "pay attention":

nhtsa tweet 1
false
nhtsa tweet 5
false
nhtsa tweet 6
false
nhtsa tweet 7
false
nhtsa tweet 9
false

"If you people would obey signs and signals that wouldn't even be necessary if not for reckless drivers, they would stop killing you":Helpful advice on how to walk, for those who may have forgotten:
Why mandate safe vehicles and street designs when you can blame Pokemon Go? (Not pictured: all the motorists out of frame playing Pokemon Go.)And here's NHTSA alerting drivers to daredevils out there who might be listening to music (since motorists themselves are known to abstain) or ... wearing hats: The above tweet is one example of NHTSA messaging to operators of multi-ton vehicles. And there was a lot of helmet advice for cyclists -- because, again, it's easier to lecture than to provide safe biking environments.

nhtsa tweet 10
false

But over this period, there was just one tweet that mentioned the unique risks posed by SUVs. It linked to a Facebook post that has since been deleted:Since the public now knows that larger vehicles are driving up fatality numbers, will NHTSA change its tune?

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Advocates Hammer City College Trustees’ Climate Hypocrisy on Frida Kahlo Way

City College talks a good game about supporting bike lanes and better transit, until it comes to losing a few parking spaces

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines

Some cities are reaching Vision Zero targets (not in CA); Walking is dangerous because drivers are; How is SF's Central Subway helping Chinatown? More

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Eyes on the Street: 8th Street in West Oakland Looking Good

A project to transform 8th from a deadly speedway back into a residential street is making real progress

February 29, 2024
See all posts