SUV Drivers More Likely to Hit Pedestrians: Study

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A thicker A-pillar on SUVs can make it more difficult for drivers of these vehicles to detect pedestrians.

By : HT automatic office
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Updated:
March 18, 2022, 09:01

File photo used for representational purposes.

According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which also points to the growing popularity of larger vehicles may be contributing to the rising number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States.

The IIHS study specifically indicates that thicker pillars on the side profile of an SUV are a possible obstruction to the driver’s view – also referred to as a blind spot, and indicates that this may make it more difficult for the person behind the wheel to detect a pedestrian, especially when cornering. The A, B and often C pillars of these vehicles are usually thicker than those of other cars to prevent the roof from collapsing in the event of a rollover.

The study further notes that large vehicles are more likely to be involved in crashes where a pedestrian is standing, walking or running near the edge of a road. “The link between these types of vehicles and some common pedestrian crashes points to another way in which the increase in the number of SUVs on the roads could be changing the crash picture,” says Jessica Cicchino, one of the authors of the study and vice-president of the IIHS.

The popularity of SUVs and pickup trucks in the United States has increased dramatically over the past few years. But the number of pedestrian fatalities has also increased. In 2020, 6,519 such deaths were reported in the United States, up 4% from the previous year, but up 59% since 2009. While it is rather difficult to attribute responsibility directly to larger passenger vehicles, the corresponding increase of the two may be a signal.

But diversifying the SUV body type can help. Compact SUVs, for example, are very popular in the United States and the blind spot problem is not as prevalent in these vehicles as in larger SUVs.

Date of first publication: March 18, 2022, 09:01 IST

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