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Study: Larger Vehicles Like SUVs & Pickup Trucks More Likely To Hit Pedestrians

pedestrian stepping into the street as an SUV approaches the crosswalk

You can always find people out walking in Dover and Portsmouth, as well as college towns such as Durham. In New Hampshire and throughout the nation, drivers of passenger vehicles have a responsibility to keep a lookout for pedestrians and to follow all traffic laws. But it only takes one negligent driver to cause a devastating pedestrian accident that results in severe injury or death.

These accidents often happen at or near intersections when a pedestrian is crossing the road and a vehicle is making a turn. Any type of vehicle can be involved in this type of accident. But a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that larger vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, vans, and minivans are more likely to strike people during a turn than cars.

Pedestrian crash fatalities have been rising

“We already know that larger vehicles cause more severe injuries when they strike pedestrians,” said Jessica Cicchino, Vice President of Research at IIHS and one of the study’s authors. “The link between these vehicle types and certain common pedestrian crashes points to another way that the increase in SUVs on the roads might be changing the crash picture.”

Researchers examined crashes at or near intersections and other locations involving single vehicles and single pedestrians. They found that compared to cars, the odds of a pedestrian fatality in these crashes involving a left turn were nearly 3 times as high for vans and minivans and nearly 4 times as high for pickups.

For right turns, the odds of a pedestrian fatality were 89 percent higher for pickups and 63 percent higher for SUVs compared to cars.

The IIHS notes that since hitting a low in 2009, pedestrian crash fatalities have increased almost every year. In 2020, there were more than 5,500 pedestrian fatalities and 54,700 pedestrian injuries.

IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer Wen Hu said it’s possible that the size, shape, or location of A-pillars supporting the roof could be making it more difficult for drivers of larger vehicles to see pedestrians while making a turn. Earlier studies found that A-pillars can create blind spots.

Get legal advice if you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident

Hu said improving vehicle designs and addressing problems in road infrastructure and vehicles speeds can all play a role in reducing the number of pedestrian accidents and fatalities.

Design changes such as AEB systems that can detect and avoid pedestrians, hood airbags, hoods that pop up on impact, and sloped front ends have shown promise. The IIHS concludes that a closer look needs to be taken at the design of larger vehicles.

All drivers have a responsibility to watch for pedestrians and take steps to avoid a collision. Because pedestrians have no protection, an accident can leave them with serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. They can also be left unable to work, resulting in a loss of income just as their medical expenses are rising.

The pedestrian accident attorneys at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin P.A. know how a crash can impact the lives of victims. We fight for their rights and help them recover the financial compensation they deserve. If you were hurt in Dover or Portsmouth, contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer.

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