Are SUVs Responsible for a Rise in Pedestrian Fatalities?
A Miami personal injury attorney can provide representation to pedestrians who are hurt in automobile accidents, as well as to families of pedestrians who are killed in collisions. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in pedestrian accident fatalities in recent years. And, not only has there been an overall rise in the number of walkers losing their lives in car accidents, but there has actually been a rise in a specific type of accident that is more likely to be deadly for pedestrians.
The type of accident that has been increasing – and causing more pedestrian accident fatalities – is accidents involving pedestrians and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
SUVs are Causing a Growing Number of Pedestrian Fatalities
The increase in pedestrian accidents involving SUVs has been dramatic, and the rise in the number of fatalities in these accidents is troubling. In fact, as NBC News reports, the number of pedestrians who are killed by SUVs has actually increased by a 81 percent over the course of the past decade alone.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed the troubling statistic about rising fatalities in pedestrian-SUV accidents after taking a close look at trends in motor vehicle fatalities. While the number of people killed in car accidents has been going down for decades, it’s gone up in recent years – and, in the past 10 years, at the same time as there was a general decline in fatalities, there was a big increase in pedestrians dying in crashes involving SUVs.
Pedestrian fatalities have increased approximately 50 percent since 2009, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This increase has come at a time when SUVs have been rapidly increasing in popularity. In fact, SUVs now account for approximately one half of total sales of motor vehicles.
More SUVs on the road can be very dangerous for pedestrians for many reasons. One big issue is that SUVs tend to be designed in such a way that they are especially dangerous if a pedestrian is hit by an SUV. The front of the SUV is higher than the front of most passenger cars, and it also tends to have a more vertical design compared with other types of vehicles. Because of the height and verticality, it is much more difficult for a pedestrian who is struck by an SUV to roll off of it. The pedestrian absorbs more of the force and the impact of the crash is greater, increasing the chances of a serious injury.
Yet, while the rise in SUVs is undoubtedly one important factor resulting in an increased number of pedestrian fatalities, it is not the only contributing factor as NBC explained. There has also been a rise in smartphone use and other consumer electronic devices are frequently found in vehicles, which has caused driver distraction as well.
When a driver is distracted or operates a vehicle in an unsafe way and a pedestrian or other motorist is hurt or killed in a resulting accident, the victim or his family should strongly consider talking with a Miami personal injury attorney about their legal options for recovering compensation for losses.