SUVs have become increasingly popular across California and the rest of the United States in recent years, and this means trouble for pedestrians. Research shows that SUVs tend to cause more damage than passenger cars when they strike pedestrians and that pedestrians face an elevated chance of suffering a serious injury or dying when struck by an SUV.
Per J.D. Power, the number of pedestrians dying on the nation’s roadways has risen steadily over the last 10 years, with a steady uptick taking place year after year. In total, pedestrian deaths rose 53% over the last 10 years, and a direct link exists between these numbers and the increasing popularity of SUVs.
When an SUV comes in contact with a pedestrian, it often strikes the pedestrian higher on his or her body than a smaller sedan would. Thus, rather than causing injuries to a pedestrian’s legs or knees, SUVs tend to strike pedestrians higher up on the body, where more serious damage might occur.
To put this in perspective, when small passenger cars strike pedestrians while traveling at 40 mph, 46% of those pedestrians survive. Yet, when an SUV strikes a pedestrian while traveling at 40 mph, 100% of pedestrians struck die.
How much more popular have SUVs become as of late? Back in 2009, only about 21% of cars on the road were SUVs. As of 2019, 70% of all new car sales involved SUVs.
As the number of SUV owners across the nation continues to grow, so do the hazards these vehicles create for pedestrians.