According to a safety report issued by codot.gov, a new study has found that light pickup trucks and SUVs pose a substantial risk to pedestrians, especially children. A University of Illinois at Springfield study discovered that kids are eight times more likely to be killed when hit by an SUV or light truck than children struck by passenger cars. The study, which was published in the Journal of Safety Research, states that researchers examined over 23,000 crash and hospital records in the state of Illinois from 2016 to 2018.
The data was used to assess the association between the victims’ ages, the severity of the injury or death, and the type of vehicle that struck the pedestrians. Of those 23,000 collisions, 63% of the crashes involved a pedestrian. Passenger vehicles were involved in about 60% of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists but only caused around 20% of deaths in those collisions. In contrast, SUVs were only involved in about 17% of accidents but caused over 40% of pedestrian fatalities involving children. Even though pickup trucks were involved in about 6% of pedestrian accidents, these trucks accounted for almost 13% of pedestrian fatalities altogether. SUVs were involved in less than 15% of accidents but caused over 25% of deadly pedestrian accidents.
These findings are similar to those published in the Governors Highway Safety Association’s pedestrian fatality report. That study found fatalities involving SUVs increased by 76% from 2011 through 2020, and deaths caused by passenger cars rose by 36%. The study stated that “larger vehicles are involved in pedestrian and pedal cyclist crashes with more severe injuries that result in higher hospital charges… and the most vulnerable among bear the greatest burden.
One of the reasons why children are particularly vulnerable to being hit by pickup trucks and SUVs is due to the height of the vehicle’s hood and the increased amount of front-end blindspots. In many fatal collisions with pedestrians, drivers stated that they could not see the child crossing in front of their vehicles. Some auto manufacturers have designed trucks and SUV front-ends too tall. Many of these vehicles’ front ends are higher than passenger vehicle roofs creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians, particularly small kids.
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