More residents of Oklahoma and the rest of the United States are choosing large SUVs and trucks over traditional sedans, and this means enhanced dangers for pedestrians. Research shows that pedestrian fatalities are rising rapidly across the nation, and SUV and truck sales are rising alongside them.
USA Today reports that SUV, van and pickup truck sales have skyrocketed in the years since 2009. That year, 47% of all vehicles sold were trucks, SUVs or vans. By 2021, trucks, SUVs and vans accounted for three-quarters of all new vehicles sold in the United States.
How many pedestrians are dying
In 2020, 6,519 pedestrians lost their lives in crashes that took place from coast to coast. Pedestrian deaths also skyrocketed by almost 60% since 2009 alongside SUV, truck and van sales, raising questions about why these large vehicles are so much more dangerous for those traveling on foot.
Why large vehicles are a threat to pedestrians
Larger vehicles tend to have larger front profiles or leading edges than smaller sedans. So, when they strike pedestrians, they often do so higher up on their bodies, where they are more likely to cause injuries to major organs or a pedestrian’s head or neck. According to one study, the average hood height of a pickup truck increased by 11% since 2000, making these vehicles far more dangerous for pedestrians.
Safety advocates believe that the makers of large automobiles must do more to reduce pedestrian deaths caused by these large, heavy vehicles. Some are proposing that automakers should have to add automatic emergency braking mechanisms to their vehicles to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities.