Research has shown that pedestrians are much more likely to be killed in accidents involving sport utility vehicles, compared to smaller passenger vehicles. The result is not unexpected given the sheer size of SUV’s. But the reason this is bad news for pedestrians is because SUV’s have become increasing popular over the past decade.
According to the results of a new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, accidents where a pedestrian was struck by an SUV travelling faster than 19 miles per hour were much more likely to result in a fatality than accidents involving a smaller vehicle travelling at a similar speed. When vehicles were travelling at between 23 and 25 mph, the accident fatality rate for SUVs was 30%, compared to 23% for smaller passenger vehicles.
When SUVs were traveling at 40 mph, all 3 accidents involving SUVs in the study data resulted in pedestrian deaths, compared to 7 out of 3 fatalities in accidents involving small passenger vehicles. Not surprisingly, there was little difference in the fatality rate when the speed of the vehicles was below 20 mph, with passengers in both types of accidents sustaining minimal injuries.
Overall, SUVs were more likely to throw pedestrians away from the point of impact, resulting in serious injuries to the pedestrian. When a person is thrown away from the point of impact, he lands on the ground with severe force, causing a range of catastrophic injuries that can even be life-threatening.
Thigh and hip injuries are common in accidents involving pedestrians and SUVs. These injuries can include fractures and broken bones that can have long term consequences on a person’s quality of life. Other serious injuries that can occur include spinal cord and head injuries which can debilitate a person’s ability to live independently. A traumatic brain injury in a pedestrian accident, for instance, can have devastating lifelong consequences, including mental impairments like difficulties in concentration and attention, cognitive difficulties, and even psychological problems.
The results of the study are interesting, especially in the context of the growing number of pedestrian accidents across the country. The number of people being killed in pedestrian accidents across the United States increased by a staggering 53% between 2008 and 2019. As many as one-fifths of all traffic accident deaths in the country now involve pedestrians. Those rates are at some of the highest they have been since authorities began recording accident facility data. As the results of this study show, many of these accident deaths involve sports utility vehicles.
And even though SUV manufacturers have made significant changes to the design of their vehicles over the past decade, they have not been enough to curb the number of pedestrian fatalities. Given the continued popularity of these large vehicles, improvements that take pedestrian safety into account be even more necessary for everyone on the roads.
If your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights to compensation for all your losses. You may be eligible for damages that include medical expenses, lost wages, diminished future earnings, pain and suffering, and various other economic and non-economic damages.