In an accident involving an SUV, a pedestrian is 45% more likely to die than in the case of a standard-sized car. Nevertheless, their sales continue to grow.
Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) analysed data from nearly 18,000 accidents involving pedestrians. Their numbers are on the rise in the USA and pedestrians now account for 17% of all traffic deaths.
SUV stands for sports utility vehicle. The first SUVs were inspired by off-road cars but today's popular models are rarely, if at all, used for off-road driving. They usually have 2-wheel drive and engines with average power. The only thing that differentiates them from other passenger cars in an urban traffic jam is their size.
SUVs are dangerous for pedestrians
The IIHS study found that tall vehicles with squared-up hoods, such as a large pickup truck, put pedestrians at risk of death 43.6% more often than hatchbacks or sedans. SUVs with tall and sloped hoods are 45% more likely to cause pedestrian deaths, Reuters reports. The researchers considered tall cars to be those whose hoods end a metre or more above the ground.
According to the Institute's analysis of crash data, medium-height SUVs with blunt front-ends, such as the Mazda CX-9, for example, are almost 26% more likely to kill a pedestrian.
For several years now, the share of SUVs in sales in Europe has been on the increase. In Poland, too, cars of this type are breaking popularity records. According to motofocus.pl, in 2022, as many as six of the 10 best-selling car models belonged to this category.