When any type of vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the results are often catastrophic. Yet, when an SUV strikes a pedestrian, the chances of that pedestrian walking away unscathed decrease even more. Research shows that SUVs are growing rapidly in popularity across Kentucky and the nation, but that these large, heavy vehicles enhance injury and fatality risks for pedestrians.
Per J.D. Power, while all vehicle-related fatalities have decreased substantially over the last 40 years, pedestrian fatalities are rising at a rapid pace. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of pedestrian deaths occurring across America increased by 53%, with the number of pedestrian deaths increasing year after year.
Why SUVs are so dangerous for pedestrians
A key difference between large SUVs and traditional passenger cars is where the front profile of the vehicle is. SUVs have higher front profiles than passenger cars. This means they tend to strike pedestrians higher on their bodies than smaller cars. For example, when a traditional sedan strikes a pedestrian, it may cause damage to that pedestrian’s legs. When an SUV strikes a pedestrian, it is more likely to cause upper-body or internal injuries.
Why SUVs are becoming so common on roadways
Consumers are increasingly opting for SUVs for several reasons. Some desire more space, while others want vehicles that offer off-road capabilities. Others yet choose SUVs because they like how they look. Regardless of the reasoning, America’s increasing love for SUVs is clear. In 2009, only about 21% of roadway vehicles were SUVs. By 2019, SUVs and large pickup trucks accounted for about 70% of all new vehicles sold.
Pedestrians would be wise to exercise care every time they walk near roadways, as the number of people driving SUVs is likely to continue to increase.