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New Safety Study: SUVs, Truck More Likely to Hit, Kill Pedestrians

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Peter J. Gregory
Mar 23, 2022
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Drivers of larger motor vehicles such as pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs are more likely to hit pedestrians than drivers of cars, according to a new study.

New research released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS”) points to the increasing popularity of larger vehicles as a possible factor in rising pedestrian deaths on U.S. roads, which are up 59% since 2009.

In the study, researchers reviewed thousands of police reports of single-vehicle, single-pedestrian accidents at or near intersections, examining the types of vehicle involved and the severity of accidents.  They found that pedestrians were more often killed by turning vehicles than by vehicles traveling straight with left turns being more dangerous than right turns. The type of vehicle also mattered a great deal: Pickups were the deadliest, followed by vans, minivans, and SUVs. Cars were least likely to kill.

Notably, even when traveling straight, larger vehicles were more dangerous. “SUVs and pickups were associated with 51 percent and 25 percent greater odds than cars of killing a pedestrian walking or running along the road versus a fatal straight-on crash with a crossing pedestrian,” the IIHS explained.  The authors of the study attributed the problems to poor driver visibility and questioned whether wider pillars holding up roofs of the larger vehicles make it harder for drivers to spot people walking near the corners of vehicles.

The IIHS also noted that modern safety systems such as automatic emergency braking (“AEB”) can help reduce vehicle on pedestrian accidents. The agency suggested that hood airbags, hoods that pop up on impact, and sloped hoods could help reduce fatalities.

However, those are just suggestions, and no single method may be a “one size fits all” solution. Ultimately, nothing is better at preventing an accident than a driver who is paying attention and can see the road.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney early to investigate your options, and preserve crucial evidence. Our pedestrian accident attorneys can assist with these matters, please contact us to learn more.

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About the author:  Peter J. Gregory is a partner with the firm.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. His personal injury practice focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at or (585) 512-3506.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.