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Are SUVs to Blame for Increased Pedestrian Deaths in U.S.?

July 17, 2018

July 17, 2018 ( An article from analyzes the rise in pedestrian deaths against the rise in popularity of SUVs, trucks, and crossovers in the United States.

Americans seem to agree with the term “bigger is better.” Meal portions, soda sizes, televisions, and houses become larger all the time. So, too, do Americans’ vehicles. 

In 2014, sales of SUVs started to surpass sales of sedans in the United States. Today, trucks and SUVs account for 60 percent of all new vehicle sales. The shift to bigger vehicles has been so pronounced that several vehicle manufacturers are beginning to phase out passenger cars almost entirely. In April, Ford announced it was pulling nearly all of its passenger cars from the manufacturing lineup. Fiat Chrysler is doing the same. 

But while SUVs and trucks might have significant consumer appeal, they also might be making U.S. roads more dangerous for pedestrians. Studies show the increase in SUV and truck popularity coincides with a dramatic increase in pedestrian fatalities. 

Nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2016. The number of pedestrian fatalities in the country has grown by 49 percent since 2009. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of single-vehicle pedestrian fatality accidents involving SUVs rose by 81 percent. Overall during that timeframe, SUV involvement in pedestrian deaths increased by 69 percent. 

SUVs and trucks present a different level of risk to pedestrians than passenger cars because they are heavier, stiffer, and geometrically more blunt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that pedestrians are two to three times more likely to die when struck by a truck or SUV versus a passenger car. 

Car manufacturers have been working to implement safety features, like automatic emergency braking, to protect from these risks, but many argue the changes are not coming quickly enough. In the meantime, drivers and pedestrians have to be even more vigilant on the roads. 

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Sources: Cited in the article

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