California residents may have heard of a recent report by a government watchdog that criticizes the federal government for not requiring vehicular safety standards with pedestrians in mind. Instead, the government focuses only on the well-being of the driver and passengers. The report says this is a longstanding failure of the government that must be remedied soon to protect pedestrians.

The Government Accountability Office reviewed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standards for motor vehicles. The NHTSA does not require automakers to incorporate pedestrian mitigation tests into their required battery of safety tests. The NHTSA considered such a rule back in 2008 but ultimately decided against implementing the rule. Other countries across the world instituted these rules over a decade ago, yet the NHTSA has not done so. One reason might be the large amount of money that automakers spend on lobbying the government each year. The cars on which the automakers profit the most are the ones that are the most dangerous for pedestrians.

Car makers have introduced some safety features for their cars that could make streets less dangerous for pedestrians. However, these features do not come standard. One way to make things even safer would be to require that these features come standard on the cars. However, the Government Accountability Office only makes recommendations to federal agencies.

Pedestrians who have been struck by a vehicle may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries. They may retain an attorney to file a lawsuit on their behalf. If the attorney is able to show that the driver who caused a pedestrian accident was negligent, the victim might be able to receive a settlement or verdict. The lack of safety features on a car does not absolve the driver of responsibility for the accident.