SUVs continue to grow in popularity across Connecticut and the nation. Yet, research shows that these larger, heavier vehicles pose a serious threat to pedestrians. A recent study found that pedestrians are much more likely to suffer a fatality when struck by an SUV, as opposed to a traditional passenger car.
Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of lives lost on U.S. roadways fell between 1980 and 2018. However, the number of pedestrian lives lost in incidents involving SUVs climbed steadily upward during this span.
Pedestrian death statistics
Pedestrian deaths have become so frequent that they now account for a fifth of all traffic deaths. The number of pedestrians killed in car crashes increased 53% between 2009 and 2018. During this same period, the number of American motorists driving SUVs rose 8%, suggesting a connection between the two.
Why is it that SUVs pose so much more of a threat to pedestrians than smaller sedans? For starters, they tend to be heavier and stiffer than smaller vehicles, meaning they may cause more damage when striking pedestrians. An SUV is also more prone to striking a pedestrian and injuring his or her upper body than a smaller vehicle, which may lead to internal or other serious injuries.
Some SUV manufacturers have taken steps in recent years to modify SUV body styles so that they pose less of a risk to pedestrians. Safety advocates are also reviewing crash data so that they may make recommendations about what SUVs may pose the lowest risk to this audience.