Bigger Vehicles, Blindspots Contributing to More Pedestrian Deaths

Accord­ing to an arti­cle from The Asso­ci­at­ed Press pub­lished on Ore­gon Live, new research con­firms that peo­ple dri­ving larg­er vehi­cles are more like­ly to hit pedes­tri­ans while mak­ing turns.

A study from the Insur­ance Insti­tute for High­way Safe­ty blames vehi­cle size and design for ris­ing pedes­tri­an death rates. The study’s authors point to the increased num­ber of pedes­tri­an deaths despite the reduc­tion in dri­ving dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. In 2020, pedes­tri­an deaths were up 50 per­cent from 2009.

While the authors note the need for more research on the top­ic of vehi­cle design, they sug­gest that the front “A‑pillars” of large SUVs and taller hoods cre­ate big­ger blind spots that pre­vent dri­vers from see­ing pedes­tri­ans. Data from North Car­oli­na show that pick­up trucks were 42 per­cent more like­ly to hit pedes­tri­ans than small­er cars dur­ing left turns, while SUVs had a 23 per­cent high­er chance.

The report sug­gests improve­ments that automak­ers can make to improve safe­ty, includ­ing small­er A‑pillars made of lighter, stronger mate­ri­als, design that pays more atten­tion to sight lines, and auto­mat­ic emer­gency brak­ing.

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