A growing number of motor vehicle consumers yearn for larger vehicles, ones that can transport kids, supplies, sporting equipment – you name it. In 2009, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans made up nearly half of all new U.S. vehicle sales. In 2021, light trucks made up 75 percent of new vehicle purchases.
However, taking to the open road with large SUVs or oversized trucks increases the likelihood of serious and potentially fatal accidents, especially for drivers not used to maneuvering large vehicles.
A growing number of pedestrian deaths
A study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals a troubling trend. The growing popularity of larger vehicles is playing a role in increased pedestrian deaths on Alabama roads and throughout the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,519 pedestrians lost their lives in 2020, a four percent increase from 2019 and a shocking 59 percent growth since 2009.
In addition, the authors cited wider pillars as a potential hazard. Referred to as “A-Pillars,” certain, large vehicles must meet federal regulations for roof strength to prevent collapses in the event of a rollover crash. But these safety measures are creating hazardous blind spots for drivers.
Higher hoods are also a factor in pedestrian accidents. Since 2000, hood heights have increased 11 percent, some up to 55 inches off the ground equaling the height of many cars.
Automatic emergency braking could perhaps be a good solution to the problem. A majority of automakers have vowed to have these systems standard by September 2022.