SUVs and pickup trucks more likely to hit pedestrians than cars

According to a new study by the American nonprofit scientific and educational organization, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans are significantly more likely to hit pedestrians while making turns on the road as compared to other types of vehicles.

SUVs and pickup trucks more likely to hit pedestrians than cars

The study found that the rise in the number of SUVs and pickups in the United States is one of the suspected factors for the increasing number of fatalities in the country. The researchers during the course studied the most common types of single-vehicle, single-pedestrian crashes at or near intersections and at other locations. Following this, they examined how involvement in these crashes varied for three larger vehicle types compared with cars.

Could this be true for India too? We haven’t come across such a study for India so far. But we have so many bad drivers of all types and atrocious road discipline across all car drivers, and pedestrians are no better either. So… coming to any such conclusion about India might be difficult.

“We already know that larger vehicles cause more severe injuries when they strike pedestrians,” says IIHS Vice President of Research Jessica Cicchino, one of the study’s authors. “The link between these vehicle types and certain common pedestrian crashes points to another way that the increase in SUVs on the roads might be changing the crash picture.”

In the United States of America, pedestrian collision fatalities have grown virtually every year since reaching a low point in 2009, climbing 59 percent to exceed 6,500 in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available. In the same year, another 54,700 pedestrians were hurt in car accidents. In terms of vehicle type, the study has indicated that SUVs and pickup trucks, which are more prevalent than ever in the U.S. fleet, are more dangerous to pedestrians than cars.

The study further details that at intersections, the probabilities of an accident involving a left turn by the vehicle vs no turn were around twice as high for SUVs, nearly three times as high for vans and minivans, and nearly four times as high for trucks as they were for cars. The likelihood of a collision involving a right turn by the vehicle was likewise 89 percent greater for trucks and 63 percent higher for SUVs than for automobiles. During 2014-18, such turning collisions accounted for more than 900 of the approximately 5,800 fatal pedestrian crashes at or near U.S. intersections.

IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer Wen Hu said, “It’s possible that the size, shape or location of the A-pillars that support the roof on either side of the windshield could make it harder for drivers of these larger vehicles to see crossing pedestrians when they are turning,” She then added that “Improving vehicle design, along with addressing road infrastructure and vehicle speeds, can play an important part in reducing pedestrian crashes and fatalities,” Hu also said, “Our findings suggest that looking at the problem through the lens of vehicle type could also be productive.”

According to the study, apart from intersections, pickups were 80 percent and SUVs were 61 percent more likely than cars to hit a pedestrian walking or running along the road. Minivans and vans were 45 percent more likely than cars to be involved in such crashes — which accounted for about 1,650 of the American state of North Carolina’s approximately 7,600 nonintersection crashes.