Residents of Georgia and the rest of the nation are increasingly favoring SUVs over traditional passenger vehicles. Studies show that SUVs are more likely to cause serious injuries and fatalities when they hit pedestrians than traditional sedans. As the number of people buying these vehicles increases, so does the number of pedestrians suffering injuries and fatalities in crashes.
Per J.D. Power, in 2009, only about a fifth of all cars on American roadways were SUVs. However, within a 10-year span, the popularity of these vehicles grew to the point where they accounted for more than 70% of all new car sales across the United States.
Why SUVs are more of a threat than standard cars
SUVs have higher front profiles than sedans, so they tend to cause more serious injuries than smaller cars when they hit pedestrians. SUVs are more likely than cars to cause damage to a pedestrian’s upper body or internal organs, whereas a traditional passenger car typically damages a pedestrian’s legs.
Why speed is a factor
While SUVs traveling at any speed present dangers for those traveling on foot, SUVs moving at higher speeds are even more hazardous. In one study reviewing cars and trucks that struck pedestrians while traveling at 19 mph, the pedestrians struck by SUVs suffered more grave injuries than those hit by cars. When both vehicles traveled at 40 mph and hit pedestrians, 100% of those struck by SUVs passed away compared to 54% of those hit by cars.
Seeing the dangers SUVs present for pedestrians, some automakers have changed their vehicle designs to help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities. However, so far, these changes have yet to have a significant impact on safety.