SUVs have become more popular in Florida and the rest of the United States in recent years, but research indicates that SUVs pose a significant threat to anyone traveling on foot. When any vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the chance of that pedestrian suffering a serious injury or fatality is high. Yet, when an SUV strikes a pedestrian, the risks are even more notable.
According to J.D. Power, SUVs now account for about 70% of all new vehicles sold across the nation. This is a sharp increase from 2009, when only about a fifth of all cars on the road were SUVs.
SUVs are often heavier and larger than traditional passenger vehicles, and this makes them more likely to cause significant damage when they strike a pedestrian’s body. SUVs also have higher leading edges, or front profiles, than standard sedans. This means they tend to hit pedestrians higher up on their bodies, where they are more likely to cause damage to internal organs or other major injuries.
SUV-on-pedestrian crash statistics
Although road deaths, in general, have declined in recent years, pedestrian fatalities have risen steadily. Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrians dying in car wrecks increased by 53%, with increases occurring each year during that span. Nowadays, about 21% of all road deaths are pedestrian fatalities.
Research shows that the speed at which a car or SUV is traveling also affects fatality risks. When sedans and SUVs hit pedestrians while moving at 19 mph, those hit by SUVs suffer more serious injuries.
Some automakers are starting to make changes to their SUV designs and body styles to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities involving their vehicles. However, to date, such changes have not had much of an impact on fatality rates.