Do Bigger Cars Cause More Fatal Accidents?

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For many years, large cars have been extremely popular in the USA and many other countries. 

However, new models from automakers are increasingly being criticized because they use a lot of fuel and are alleged to cause more damage in collisions with pedestrians.

Because of this, researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked into how frequently SUVs and other large cars are involved in serious accident.

car accident

 More road deaths in the United States

According to a 2020 analysis, a total of 6,519 pedestrians died in road accidents in the United States that year ( Study ).

This statistic is based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In comparison to 2009, the proportion has grown by 59%.

During this time, the proportion of new pickups and SUVs registered increased dramatically. In the meantime, compact off-road vehicles have the largest market share in the United States.

There is a clear link between accident rates and large cars.

The scientists looked at national accident statistics as well as pedestrian accidents to see if there was a link between the high number of deaths and the rising frequency of big cars.

This analysis covered all statistics collected in North Carolina from 2010 to 2018. The review points to a clear connection between the frequency of fatal pedestrian accidents and the respective vehicle type.

Especially when turning left, SUVs collide with pedestrians 23 percent more often and pick-ups 42 percent more often than other vehicle models.

 There are no differences between vehicle types in right-turn accidents. The likelihood of hitting other people on the road is significantly higher at 45 percent for minivans, 61 percent for SUVs and 80 percent for pick-ups.

A clear correlation between accident rates and large cars

A worse view of the surroundings

A possible reason for these statistics is the poorer view of the surroundings. Since the larger vehicles have to withstand a higher weight in an accident, their A-pillars are usually wider. This makes pedestrians less visible.

A solution to this problem could be to use stronger materials, so that a narrow A-pillar could also be integrated into heavy cars.

In addition, high bonnets have an effect on the accident frequency. 

According to analyzes by the consumer organization Consumer Reports, the high bonnets obscure the view of pedestrians crossing the street directly in front of the car. A check by the organization showed that pick-up bonnets are now an average of eleven percent higher than in 2000.

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