Can the Rise in Pedestrian Accidents Be Blamed on SUVs? The Statistics Shed Light on the Issue According to a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans are significantly more likely than cars to hit pedestrians when turning, suggesting that these bigger vehicles may not provide drivers with as clear a view of persons crossing the road.

One of the study’s authors, IIHS Vice President of Research Jessica Cicchino, adds, “We already know that bigger cars cause more serious injuries when they impact pedestrians. The association between these vehicle types and certain common pedestrian crashes suggests yet another manner in which the increased number of SUVs on the road is altering the collision picture.”

The increase in pedestrian deaths

Since a low point in 2009, pedestrian collision deaths have grown virtually every year, jumping 59 percent to over 6,500 fatalities in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available. A total of 54,700 pedestrians were wounded in motor vehicle accidents in the same year. One possible cause is the increasing use of heavier cars.

In terms of vehicle type, previous study has indicated that SUVs and pickup trucks, which are more prevalent than ever in the US fleet, are more dangerous to pedestrians than automobiles. According to the latest IIHS study, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans are more likely to cause pedestrian collisions, including those that occur while the vehicle is turning.

The type of accident matters

The researchers looked on the most prevalent sorts of single-vehicle, single-pedestrian collisions that happen at or near intersections and other places. They next looked at how three larger vehicle types fared in these collisions compared to autos.

At junctions, the probabilities of a vehicle making a left turn vs no turn were nearly twice as high for SUVs, nearly three times as high for vans and minivans, and nearly four times as high for pickup trucks as they were for cars. A right turn by the vehicle was also 89 percent greater for trucks and 63 percent higher for SUVs than for cars in an incident that killed a crossing pedestrian. Over 900 of the 5,800 fatal pedestrian crashes at or near U.S. intersections occurred as a result of such turning crashes between 2014 and 2018.

“It’s likely that the size, form, or position of the A-pillars on each side of the windscreen that support the roof make it difficult for drivers of these larger cars to spot crossing pedestrians while they are turning,” says IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer Wen Hu.

SUVs and pickup trucks were shown to have 51 percent and 25 percent higher probability of killing a pedestrian strolling or jogging down the road versus a fatal straight-on collision with a crossing pedestrian in other regions. Although the researchers evaluated whether the incident happened in a rural region and other environmental factors in their study, the fact that bigger cars and walking-along-the-road crashes are both more prevalent in rural areas may have contributed to those increased probabilities. Around 2,500 of the 14,000 fatal pedestrian collisions in the United States occurred as a result of such situations.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, or have lost a loved one, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 to request a free legal consultation today.