SUVs and trucks more likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians, says IIHS
As the size of SUVs and trucks continues to grow, Consumer Reports says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has uncovered a startling situation. The study indicates that “poor forward visibility” and vehicle design could be to blame for the higher rates of incidents with pedestrians.
IIHS study indicates minivans, large vans, pickups and SUVs are more likely to have an accident
The IIHS is continually working to make people safer on the roads, both in cars and apart from vehicles. consumer reports says the study looked at the implications of “SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans and vans” on pedestrians. This group of vehicles is sometimes known as light commercial vehicles or SUVs. The study found that drivers of SUVs, trucks and vans are more likely to hit a pedestrian when cornering. Because these vehicles are larger, the lack of visibility contributed to the increased risk of hitting pedestrians.
the IIHS recently reviewed 14,000 fatal accidents involving pedestrians. The research showed that SUVs were twice as likely as cars to make a left turn during the incident. Vans and minivans were three times more likely. Pickup trucks were nearly four times more likely to turn left before the fatal crash.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also found similar results with non-fatal crashes during research. One of the IIHS findings was that “LTVs were more likely to be involved in certain types of pedestrian crashes, implying potentially problematic pedestrian visibility near the front corners of these vehicles.”
Consumer Reports and the IIHS believe that the increased size of these vehicles has contributed
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Consumer Reports says there’s even more research to understand why this is a thing. Wen Hu, one of the IIHS’ senior transportation engineers, says the problem could be with the design of these larger vehicles. The front can conceal what is in front of the car and what might be on the road.
“It is possible that the size, shape or location of the A-pillars that support the roof on either side of the windshield make it more difficult for drivers of these large vehicles to see crossing pedestrians as they turn.”
wen hu | IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer
In situations where collisions occurred without any turns, pickup trucks were still 51% more likely than full-size cars to hit and kill a pedestrian. SUVs were 25% more likely. So what can be done to solve this problem?
Could the increased size of the A-pillars be a possible reason?
Jennifer Stockburger is director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Automotive Test Center. Stockburger assumed that the A-pillar of these vehicles is much thicker due to modern crash and rollover standards than it was before. It is unconfirmed that thicker A-pillars are the cause of the issue, but that may be part of further investigation.
Consumer Reports says it’s also possible that “higher ride heights and taller hoods mean bigger vehicles have bigger front blind spots.” A previous study suggested that some large trucks would have blind spots of 11 feet or more. In SUVs, blind spots can extend 7 feet or more. In addition to large blind spots, it can be more difficult to stop in these large vehicles.
Regardless of cause, pedestrian fatalities have increased 59% over the past 13 years. According to Consumer Reports and the IIHS, one of the main factors that can help reduce these deaths includes active safety systems on new cars. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems with pedestrian detection can help but do not work as well when a vehicle is turning. Automakers are working to improve these systems so that something like AEB can recognize a pedestrian more quickly.
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