Residents of California and the rest of the United States have shown a clear preference for large trucks and SUVs in recent years despite the fact that larger vehicles are more of a danger to pedestrians. Pedestrian crashes and fatalities are increasing nationwide, and so, too, are SUV, van and larger truck sales, leading safety advocates to examine the link between the two.
According to USA Today, drivers of SUVs and large pickup trucks are more likely to strike pedestrians when they make turns than drivers behind the wheels of traditional sedans.
Statistics on large truck and SUV sales
Since 2009, the number of Americans driving large, heavy vehicles such as trucks and SUVs increased substantially. In 2009, SUVs, trucks and vans comprised 47% of all new vehicles sold across the nation. Yet, by 2021, more than 75% of all new cars sold nationwide were trucks. While larger vehicles are more likely than smaller ones to hit pedestrians, they are also more likely to cause significant pedestrian injuries or fatalities.
Statistics on pedestrian crashes and fatalities
The number of pedestrians dying in crashes across California and the nation increased by 59% since 2009. In 2020, there were 6,519 pedestrian fatalities that took place from coast to coast. Research also shows that the average hood height for a pickup truck increased 11% since 2000, and with higher hood heights comes enhanced injury and fatality risks for pedestrians.
Some safety advocates suggest that automakers should be modifying the body styles of their vehicles to make them less of a safety hazard for pedestrians. However, many U.S. automakers have neglected to take such action.