Consumers in Texas and across the nation prefer SUVs and trucks to smaller sedans, but these big cars mean big danger for pedestrians. While studies suggest a link between the rising popularity of SUVs and the rising number of pedestrians dying on U.S. roadways, research also shows that SUVs and trucks are more likely than smaller cars to hit pedestrians when making turns.
USA Today reports that large vehicle sales have increased almost 60% nationwide since 2009. That year, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks made up about 47% of new vehicles sold across the nation. Yet, by 2020, more than three-quarters of all vehicles sold nationwide were light trucks.
How often large vehicles strike pedestrians
A large-scale study of pedestrian crash fatalities conducted over an eight-year span showed that SUVs were 23% more likely to strike pedestrians than traditional sedans when making a turn at an intersection. The study also showed that pickup trucks were 43% more likely than traditional cars to hit pedestrians under these circumstances. Outside of intersections, pickups were 80% more likely to hit pedestrians than cars, while SUVs were 61% more likely to do so.
Why larger cars are more dangerous for pedestrians
Larger cars often have higher front ends, meaning they cause damage to pedestrians higher up on their bodies. So, rather than injuring a knee or leg, a larger vehicle might result in a head, neck or internal injury. SUVs and trucks are also more likely to have blind spots than traditional sedans, making it harder to see pedestrians.
When a large vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the chances of the incident leading to a serious injury or fatality is high. Pedestrians who suffer serious injuries may be able to try to hold the responsible driver accountable.