How SUVs Have Reshaped Pedestrian Death Statistics

How SUVs Have Reshaped Pedestrian Death Statistics

Date: Jul 17th, 2018 By Jonathan M. Stewart
Category: Auto Accident

It is no secret that SUVs are the most popular choice when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. In fact, SUV sales have recently surged to record highs and account for more than 60 percent of new vehicle sales in the United States.

And while car owners are happy and excited about their SUVs, pedestrians not so much. The occurrence of pedestrian accidents involving SUVs has been increasing at an exponential rate for years, while most authorities all across the nation have proven to be completely incapable of reducing the number of vehicle-pedestrian accidents involving pickups and SUVs.

Fact: Nearly 6,000 pedestrians die on and along U.S. roads each year, which is nearly as many as the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.

The troubling pedestrian death statistics in the U.S. by USA Today Network indicates that SUVs are the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities in Pittsburgh and all across the nation. Our car accident attorney in Pittsburgh, PA from SMT Legal has delved into how America’s love for SUVs has made U.S. roads a lot more dangerous for pedestrians than they ever used to be.

Why do SUVs cause so many pedestrian accidents in Pittsburgh?

So what makes SUVs so dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, and children in Pittsburgh and other cities in our nation?

  1. Given the strong proportions and profile of an SUV, these vehicles have a larger area of an impact compared to passenger cars. An SUV’s front end is much taller than that of a sedan, which means that in a collision, SUVs hit pedestrians higher on their bodies.
  2. Since an SUV’s area of impact is much larger, SUVs are more likely to kill a pedestrian, as the pedestrian’s torso and upper body absorb the primary impact as compared to a sedan striking a pedestrian’s lower body.
  3. Among the nearly 6,000 annual pedestrian fatalities, many of them are usually males, jaywalkers and people who have alcohol in their system, which makes these groups of people more likely to die in a vehicle-pedestrian collision.
  4. Distracted walking is also a contributing cause to pedestrian accidents, as many of those who are injured or killed in a pedestrian accident tend to be distracted by their cellphone either because they were texting or talking on the phone while crossing the road or intersection.
  5. Statistics also show that pedestrians are more likely to sustain fatal injuries at night and in multilane roads in urban areas.
  6. Most SUVs are more powerful than passenger cars, which means a driver of an SUV is more likely to drive at higher speeds, increasing the risk of striking pedestrians who are jaywalking or pedestrians who cross the road legally.
  7. Because of the size of the vehicle, SUV drivers are less likely to decrease their speed when driving through a speed bump compared to drivers of sedans.

Pedestrian deaths caused by SUVs surge 81 percent

Fact: Even more troubling pedestrian accident statistics show that pedestrian fatalities involving an SUV surged by 81 percent in the period between 2009 and 2016.

“While the popularity of pickups and SUVs in the United States continues to skyrocket each year, lawmakers and authorities are not doing enough to reduce the risk and severity of pedestrian accidents nationwide,” says our experienced car accident attorney in Pittsburgh.

Even though federal safety regulators have known for years that SUVs are twice as likely to kill pedestrians in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, the vast majority of states and cities in our nation lack sufficient and adequate safety standards and measures that would help prevent pedestrian accidents.

How can we prevent pedestrian accidents caused by SUVs?

Experts say that in order to decrease the troubling rates of pedestrian accident fatalities in the U.S., lawmakers and authorities should:

  • Make the use of pedestrian crash avoidance/mitigation system mandatory in modern SUVs and pickups
  • Make the installment of features such as low-speed automatic emergency braking mandatory
  • Improve pedestrian safety through advanced driver-assistance and crash avoidance technology
  • Educate both motorists and pedestrians on the topic of reducing the risk of car accidents and pedestrian fatalities on the roads
  • Make distracted walking such as texting and talking on the phone while crossing the street or intersection illegal
  • Introduce lower speed limits, especially in the heavy pedestrian areas
  • Install more speed bumps, “refuge islands,” and mid-block crossings
  • Improve lighting along the roads, and especially near crosswalks and intersections
  • Break up major arterial roadways
  • Reduce the number of lanes on multilane roads
  • Pass laws that would require automakers to take pedestrian safety more seriously in the process of manufacturing SUVs and pickups

Our Pittsburgh car accident attorney at SMT Legal says that it could be possible to reduce the number and severity of pedestrian accidents and fatalities only through a combination of the above-mentioned measures. Have you been in a car accident in Pittsburgh, or elsewhere in Pennsylvania? Speak to our lawyers to get a free consultation today. Call at 412-765-3345 or fill out this contact form.

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