While Montana residents cherish the quality of life they enjoy, they unfortunately cannot fully escape the risk of being hit by vehicles when walking or running on area roads.
According to records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, overall vehicular deaths in Montana declined significantly between 2009 and 2018 yet pedestrian deaths remained consistent.
In 2009, 221 people died in vehicular accidents in Montana and 15 of those people were pedestrians. In 2018, the total number of people killed in crashes dropped to 182 while pedestrian deaths still remained at 15.
Five of the state’s total 15 pedestrian deaths in 2018 occurred in Yellowstone County, after a year in which the county recorded no pedestrian deaths. In 2016, three pedestrians died in the county and another three died between 2014 and 2015.
AAA conducted research to determine the effectiveness of pedestrian detection systems and automatic braking systems. Despite the intended goal of preventing pedestrian accidents, the study noted pedestrian impacts more often than not in all scenarios tested.
Tests run in dark conditions returned the worst results and led AAA to declare these systems completely ineffective. Sadly, the majority of pedestrian fatalities happen at night.
The best results were achieved in tests conducted in broad daylight with vehicles operating at 20 miles per hour. Adult-sized dummies walked directly in front of the vehicles. The pedestrian dummies were hit by the test vehicles in 60% of the tests. In some situations, the systems detected the pedestrians but failed to stop the vehicles before impact.