Many car buyers across New York and the rest of the United States have changed their preferences in recent years, and large, heavy SUVs have become far more popular than smaller sedans. However, SUVs pose much more of a threat to pedestrians than traditional sedans. While the number of Americans driving SUVs has increased, the number of pedestrians dying in car-on-pedestrian crashes has risen alongside it.
According to J.D. Power, SUV purchases now account for more than 70% of all new car sales. Back in 2009, only about 21% of new cars sold to consumers were SUVs.
Why SUVs are more dangerous for pedestrians
SUVs present more of a danger to pedestrians than traditional sedans mainly because of their size and front profiles. Sedans have low front profiles, so when sedans hit pedestrians, they may do the most damage to the pedestrian’s legs. SUVs have much higher front profiles. So, when SUVs hit pedestrians, they are more likely to result in damage to the upper body of the pedestrian, where they may cause harm to internal organs.
Why speed matters
The speed at which a car or SUV travels also determines how much of a danger it is to a pedestrian. When sedans and SUVs strike pedestrians while traveling at or above 19 mph, pedestrians struck by SUVs are far more likely to suffer serious injuries than those struck by sedans. Similarly, when sedans and SUVs travel at 40 mph and hit pedestrians, pedestrians struck by the SUVs die in 100% of instances. Pedestrians struck by sedans traveling at 40 mph died in 66% of cases.
So far, auto makers’ efforts to change their body styles and make them less dangerous for pedestrians have yet to make a measurable impact.