Study Zeroes in on Dangers of Taller Vehicles

More evi­dence is pil­ing up that extra-tall vehi­cle hoods, increas­ing­ly com­mon on trucks and SUVs, are more dan­ger­ous to pedes­tri­ans.

As Jonathan M. Gitlin reports in Wired, “Data from the 1990s found that a pedes­tri­an hit by a truck was two to times more like­ly to be killed, anoth­er study find­ing that light trucks were twice as like­ly to injure a pedes­tri­an than a car, espe­cial­ly at low speed.”

More recent­ly, a new study sim­i­lar results. “When exam­ined by vehi­cle type, vans proved to be the least dan­ger­ous to pedes­tri­ans, with a 6.6 chance of death. Cars were a bit worse—8.5 per­cent of pedes­tri­ans hit by a sedan or hatch­back were killed. SUVs were rough­ly the same as cars, at 8.8 per­cent.” By com­par­i­son, SUVs killed 12.4 per­cent of pedes­tri­ans they hit, while pick­ups had a death rate of 11.9 per­cent.

Pick­up trucks and full-size SUVs have 27 to 28 per­cent taller hoods than aver­age cars and are 51 to 55 per­cent heav­ier. Between 2016 and 2021, medi­an -end increased by 5 per­cent. After a more gran­u­lar analy­sis, study author Justin Tyn­dall found that hood height is a pri­ma­ry fac­tor. “In fact, the study esti­mates that a 4‑inch (100-mm) in front-end height trans­lates to a 28 per­cent increase in pedes­tri­an death.”

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