A new report warns pedestrians to be aware of SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, and minivans turning at street corners when out for a walk.
It was discovered that larger vehicles are far more likely than automobiles to hit and kill pedestrians when turning, implying that larger vehicle drivers may not have as clear a vision of people crossing the road.
Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at single-vehicle pedestrian collisions at or near crossings and other places.
When compared to cars, the probability of a pedestrian being killed by a left-turning vehicle was nearly two times greater for SUVs, nearly three times higher for vans and minivans, and nearly four times higher for trucks at junctions.
Pedestrians were 89 percent more likely in pickup trucks and 63 percent more likely in SUVs than in cars to be killed by a right-turning vehicle.
Between 2014 and 2018, pedestrian deaths involving turning cars accounted for more than 900 of the 5,800 fatal pedestrian crashes at or near U.S. crossings.
In an institute news release, senior transportation engineer Wen Hu stated, “It’s possible that the size, shape, or location of the A-pillars that support the roof on either side of the windshield could make it harder for drivers of these larger vehicles to see crossing pedestrians when they are turning.”
They were 51 percent more likely to hit and kill pedestrians walking or running down the road than they were to hit and kill people crossing the road in locations other than junctions, at 51 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Pedestrian deaths in the United States have increased by 59 percent since 2009, and are expected to exceed 6,500 by 2020.A total of 54,700 pedestrians were hurt by motor vehicles in the same year.
One reason for this is that larger automobiles are becoming more common, which is thought to be a factor.
“We already know that when heavier vehicles collide with people, they cause more serious injuries,” said Jessica Cicchino, the institute’s vice president of research.
“The association between these vehicle categories and certain typical pedestrian crashes alludes to another way in which the increased number of SUVs on the roads may be changing the crash picture,” Cicchino said in the press release.
Improving vehicle design, as well as addressing road infrastructure and vehicle speeds, can help reduce pedestrian collisions and fatalities, Hu said. “Our findings show that approaching the problem via the prism of vehicle type may also be beneficial.”
According to the researchers, these findings highlight the need to investigate how the design of larger vehicles affects driver visibility.
Some of the promising alternatives include hood airbags, hoods that automatically spring up on impact, and more sloped front ends.