The Automobile Manufacturer’s Liability to Pedestrians for Exterior Design: New Dimensions in “Crashworthiness”

Each year approximately twenty per cent of all traffic fatalities in the United States are pedestrians. Of the 54,700 people killed in traffic accidents in 1971, 10,600 were pedestrians. Cyclists made up another 850 fatalities. In addition to the over I 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed, an estimated 150,000 pedestrians were injured in 1971. This Note concerns the liability of automobile manufacturers for injuries caused by the exterior design of their products. The plaintiffs in most cases will be pedestrians, but exterior design defects may also injure motorcyclists, bicyclists, and, more rarely, occupants of other vehicles. For convenience, the term “pedestrian” will be used here to refer to all these possible plaintiffs.