SUVs are a major cause of the increase in pedestrian accidents

A recent report has found that the popularity of SUVs has caused a spike in pedestrian deaths.

A recent report by the Detroit Free Press has highlighted how the large number of SUVs on America's roads are putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk. The report shows that pedestrian accidents involving SUVs are far more likely to result in death or serious injury to the pedestrian. Furthermore, the report contends that federal officials have long been aware of the danger that SUVs pose to pedestrians, but have done little to counteract or publicize the issue.

Danger posed by SUVs

SUVs are built with a higher front end, which means that when a pedestrian is struck they are more likely to be struck in their head or torso. Obviously, that can cause severe injury or death. A pedestrian struck by a car, on the other hand, is more likely to be struck in the lower part of their body, thus increasing their chances of survival.

As NPR reports, the number of SUVs on the road has increased by 37 percent from 2009 to 2016. During that same time, the number of single-vehicle fatal pedestrian accidents involving SUVs soared by 81 percent, which was far higher than such accidents involving any other vehicle type. Furthermore, while motor vehicle fatalities have fallen in recent years, pedestrian deaths have soared.

The fact that SUVs are also becoming more powerful is key to understanding their role in pedestrian fatalities. Speed is the biggest factor determining the severity of a pedestrian accident. While a pedestrian struck by a vehicle going 20 mph only has a five percent chance of dying, that fatality risk increases to 85 percent if the vehicle is going 40 mph.

Federal officials accused of not acting

The Detroit Free Press report notes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has known since at least 2015 that SUVs were responsible for a disproportionate number of pedestrian deaths. While the NHTSA had planned to introduce a new vehicle safety score for pedestrian safety to address the danger presented by SUVs, those plans were never implemented.

Furthermore, the findings that pedestrian accidents involving SUVs are more likely to result in death have not been widely publicized by federal safety officials. The report notes a number of issues that may have been behind the lack of action, including lobbying against the plans by some automakers and the fact that the NHTSA hasn't had a permanent administrator since President Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Help after an accident

With more large vehicles on the road, pedestrians are at an increased risk of being seriously injured. Such injuries can lead to expensive medical bills, time taken off work, and other financial burdens. A personal injury attorney can help those who have been injured pursue the compensation they may be entitled to. That compensation could potentially help cover the many costs that arise after an accident and help ease the path to recovery.