Pedestrian Fatalities Increasingly Caused by SUVs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2016, almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States alone. The CDC also reported that pedestrians over the age of 65 accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths in 2016, and one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in motor vehicle accidents were pedestrians.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that pedestrian fatalities increased between 2009 and 2016 in single-vehicle crashes which killed a pedestrian involving an SUV, increased by 81% over the eight-year period.

“The average annual increase in crashes involving SUVs was 3.1% higher than the increase in other vehicle types combined,” the study reported. The report also studied the increase in popularity of SUVs in the past decade, noting “the number of registered SUVs increased 37% from 2009 to 2016, while the number of other registered passenger vehicles decreased by less than 1%.”

SUVs are associated with an increased risk, compared to other vehicles, of severely injuring or killing a pedestrian when involved in a pedestrian accident.  This is due to SUVs’ higher, more vertical front ends, making them more likely to hit a pedestrian in the chest or head and increasing the risk of serious injuries.

The study also notes that the increase in pedestrian deaths could be the result of more civilians walking to and from work.  Faster speed limits for vehicles and poor road design both play a major role in the rise in pedestrian deaths. In addition, nearly 50% of motor vehicle accidents resulting in the death of a pedestrian involved alcohol for the driver or the pedestrian.  Fatal pedestrian accidents often occur at midblock, away from crosswalks, on main streets, and after dark.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study also listed the top cities over 500,000 people with the highest per capita pedestrian accidents resulting in fatalities, with Phoenix and Albuquerque at the top of the list for 2016.

In 2018, the rate of deadly car accidents fell by 3.4%, however there was a 3.4% increase in pedestrian fatalities and 6.3% increase in bicyclist fatalities that same year.

The institute suggests making vehicle fronts softer, headlights brighter, and adding rear view cameras to vehicles to make them less deadly for pedestrians.  Further strategies include adding pedestrian airbags that would inflate if the car hit a pedestrian, protecting the pedestrian from hitting the front roof pillars.

An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona can advise a collision victim regarding legal claims and the litigation process.  

Thanks to the Law Office of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into personal injury claims and pedestrian accidents.

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