California pedestrians are not considered when it comes to safety standards for vehicles according to a report issued by a government watchdog. The Government Accountability Office has criticized the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for its focus on the driver and passengers when it issues its standards for auto manufacturers to follow. GAO is recommending that NHTSA begin to consider pedestrians as well in its safety standards since they are at risk.

NHTSA previously considered a rule that would require automakers to include pedestrian mitigation tests in their processes. However, the agency failed to finalize that rule. That was back in 2008, and 12 years have passed with dangerous cars being put out on the road. The automakers spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying each year so the rules may end up benefiting them at the expense of the general public. In fact, the cars that are most dangerous are the ones on which the automakers make the most money.

Even today, the safety features on cars that could benefit pedestrians the most are optional, meaning that customers need to pay more if they want them. Some drivers do choose these safety features, so new cars are safer than the ones put out onto the road a decade ago. Nonetheless, some of the impetus for improvement needs to come from the federal government.

A pedestrian involved in an accident would have a legal cause of action against the driver as opposed to the car manufacturer or the federal government. He or she would seek out a personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle for negligence. The attorney could assist them throughout the process, including in negotiating a settlement or taking the case to the jury if the driver’s insurance is not trying to settle the case.