Bigger Vehicles, Blindspots Contributing to More Pedestrian Deaths

A new study links bigger vehicles to a sharp increase in pedestrian deaths over the last decade.

1 minute read

March 18, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Large pickup trucks are parked in neat rows extending into the fuzzy background of the image.

BoJack / Shutterstock

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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