Over the past 40 years, there has been an overall decline in fatalities from motor vehicle accidents. However, one type of accident that has defied the trend is the vehicle-to-pedestrian collision. For the past decade, the number of pedestrian deaths has increased incrementally on an annual basis. Overall, according to JD Power, the rate of fatalities in vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions was 53% higher in 2020 than it was in 2010.
While a pedestrian is always at a disadvantage in a collision with a car, research shows that a collision with a sport utility vehicle is more likely to result in pedestrian death than with an ordinary car.
A collision with an SUV tends to cause a pedestrian more serious injuries than a collision with a car. This is because of the impact point created by an SUV’s higher leading edge. SUVs have undergone redesigns of the front profile to cause less damage in collisions with cars, but this has had little effect on pedestrian accidents.
Number of SUVs on the road
Part of the reason why SUVs are more dangerous to pedestrians than cars is that there are more SUVs on the road now than ever before, increasing the chances that they will strike a pedestrian. As of 2020, 70% of all new vehicle sales were of SUVs, whereas they represented 29% of all new vehicle sales less than a decade previously.
The speed at which an SUV strikes a pedestrian makes a difference to the seriousness of the latter’s injuries. Research shows that there is no appreciable difference in severity between injuries resulting from a collision with an SUV and those from a car if the vehicles are traveling less than 19 miles per hour. Any faster, however, and the SUV produces much more serious injuries.