Residents of California and the rest of the United States are changing their preferences when it comes to what they drive, and this means big trouble for those who travel the state and nation on foot. More and more, Americans are purchasing SUVs, rather than standard passenger vehicles. When SUVs strike pedestrians, they often cause far more damage than traditional cars.
Per J.D. Power, a pedestrian faces an uphill battle regardless of what type of vehicle strikes him or her. However, the chances of a pedestrian suffering a serious injury or fatality are much higher when an SUV strikes them.
Pedestrian crash statistics
While all types of road deaths have decreased over the past 40 years, pedestrian deaths have increased 53% over the past 10 years alone. The number of pedestrian road deaths seen across the country has also risen steadily year after year, with pedestrian fatalities now accounting for 21% of all road deaths.
SUV owner statistics
The number of Americans who own and drive SUVs continues to climb. In 2009, SUVs accounted for only about 21% of vehicles on the road. Nowadays, 70% of new car buyers wind up purchasing SUVs. When SUVs strike pedestrians while traveling at 40 mph, 100% of those pedestrians die. When smaller cars strike pedestrians while traveling at 40 mph, 70% of pedestrians struck die. This remains true even though some automakers modified their SUV designs in recent years in an effort to make them safer.
SUVs have higher front profiles than passenger cars. This means they are more likely to strike pedestrians higher up on their bodies, where they may damage organs or cause other major injuries.