Tall SUVs far riskier than shorter vehicles for pedestrians in accidents: Study

Owning an SUV or Sports Utility Vehicle with a massive road presence may massage the ego of an owner but can prove to be more fatal for pedestrians in case of an accident than a shorter vehicle. This has been revealed in a new study conducted by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.

Chevrolet Colorado
File photo of a Chevrolet Colorado. Image has been used for representational purpose only. (AP)
Chevrolet Colorado
File photo of a Chevrolet Colorado. Image has been used for representational purpose only.

The study conducted by IIHS finds that SUVs with a hood height of more than 40 inches or 3.33 feet can be riskier for pedestrians in case of an accident when compared to a shorter vehicle in a similarly unfortunate situation. The study makes this conclusion after examining around 18,000 past crashes.

It is also highlighted that tall SUVs and even pick-up trucks with a squared-up hood pose an increased risk for pedestrians as against vehicles with sloped hoods. And while there may be several other factors at play too - like the kind of materials used on the outer shell of a vehicle, it is generally observed that the bulkier and taller a vehicle, the more chances of a more serious injury to pedestrians that may be caused.

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Some of the best-selling car models in the United States are vehicles which have a hood height well above 40 inches. The preference for SUVs and pick-up trucks has also grown significantly in recent times among American car buyers. But unfortunately, the number of pedestrian deaths caused by vehicles is also on the rise in the country. In 2021 alone, there were 7,342 pedestrian deaths in the United States, up by a significant 13 per cent since 1981. There were another 985 deaths to cyclists as well. Data further reveals that pedestrian deaths in the country accounts for around 17 per cent of all traffic-related deaths.

The IIHS study recommends that carmakers work on vehicles which have a sloping and lower front hood while it is mostly advised that flexible materials which can absorb shock of impact be used generously as well.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 14 Nov 2023, 12:13 PM IST
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