Are larger passenger vehicles a greater risk to pedestrians?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Car Accidents |

People who take to the roads in Georgia are always at some level of risk of being involved in an auto accident. Some face a higher chance than others and the injuries can be of greater severity. Pedestrians, bicyclists and others who are not accorded the protection of a vehicle of their own are particularly in jeopardy of catastrophic injury and death. Law enforcement and legislators focus on known causes of collisions. That includes drivers who go beyond the speed limit, reckless drivers, distracted drivers and drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For researchers, however, there are more layers to determining how accidents happen and why. One study assessed vehicle size and how it places pedestrians in danger when they are turning. This could be a key factor in crashes.

IIHS points to visibility and design with larger vehicles

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), minivans, vans, SUVs and pickup trucks have a greater likelihood of causing injuries and fatalities when they are turning than their smaller counterparts. Researchers think this might be due to the way larger vehicles are designed. Visibility can be diminished due to them being higher than other vehicles. Also, their size and weight can have a greater impact if there is an accident.

To come to its conclusions. IIHS looked at around 14,000 fatal accidents involving pedestrians. When compared to cars, SUVs had double the chance to be turning left at the time of the accident. Minivans and vans were worse with triple the chance of having this type of accident. For pickups, it was quadruple the chance. Left turns are known to be problematic because drivers in general need to pay attention to oncoming traffic and wait for the opportunity to turn. If pedestrians are crossing the street at the time, avoiding them could be challenging. These statistics were for fatal accidents, but they were about as bad for non-fatal ones.

Even when these vehicles were not turning and were simply driving straight, there was enhanced risk. Pickup trucks had a 51% greater chance to fatally hit a pedestrian. For SUVs, it was a quarter more likely. The structures of the vehicles were cited as a prominent reason for these troubling numbers. The weight of the vehicle dictates how a vehicle will adhere to safety standards. Larger vehicles need a different design that can impede a driver’s vision in certain circumstances. Combining their known issues with growing popularity among consumers and the landscape is such that pedestrians should be vigilant and at least moderately concerned about safety.

The circumstances of a pedestrian accident are imperative in the aftermath

Pedestrian accident statistics seem to be getting exponentially worse. Whether it is because of a vehicle’s design, driver behavior, inclement weather or any other reason, the result remains the same: people can be severely injured and lose their lives in this type of an accident. From medical costs, lost wages, stress on a family and long-term concerns, those who were hurt must think about the future. These issues are exacerbated if there is a fatality. The entire case must be scrutinized to determine the case. That will include the vehicle, the time of day, what the driver might have been doing at the time and the injuries incurred. From the beginning, it is essential to have advice with how to proceed. This can happen to anyone regardless of age, job and social standing. Discussing the case with experienced people can yield information with what to do.


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