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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Pedestrian Accident / Pedestrian Deaths Rise as Car and Truck Size Increases

Pedestrian Deaths Rise as Car and Truck Size Increases


Richmond is a region where walking is common, and pedestrians expect to be safe in neighborhoods and historic walking areas throughout the city. Whether you are shopping in Carytown or taking a walk for exercise in your own community, you should be able to walk without fear of being injured in a collision involving a motor vehicle. Yet car accidents involving pedestrians have become increasingly common, especially as consumers have moved toward buying larger vehicles. Indeed, according to a recent report from NPR, the overall rate of serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities has risen as larger vehicles populate the roadways. What should you know about the connection between bigger cars and trucks and pedestrian safety? Our Richmond car accident lawyers can tell you more.

Taller Vehicles Linked to Increase in Severe Pedestrian Injuries 

It is not just that cars and trucks are getting larger, according to the NPR report, but that they are getting taller. Citing new research, the report contends that “additional height comes at a steep cost to safety.” To be sure, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that “vehicles with higher front ends and blunt profiles are 45 percent more likely to cause fatalities in crashes with pedestrians than smaller cars and trucks.”

The IIHS research included data from approximately 18,000 pedestrian collisions with motor vehicles and assessed the hood heights of passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs involved in those crashes. The data showed that the height of the hood (related to the overall height of the vehicle) is an extremely important factor in determining the likelihood of a severe or fatal pedestrian injury. Hood heights that are more than 40 inches are 45 percent more likely than hood heights below 30 inches to cause pedestrian deaths. According to David Harkey, the IIHS president, while it seemed likely that taller vehicles would pose a greater injury risk to pedestrians, the IIHS did not expect that “the number would be quite that high.”

Reasons for Dangers Posed By Taller Vehicles 

Why are taller vehicles deadlier for pedestrians? The IIHS researchers suggest that cars, trucks, and SUVs with higher hood heights are more likely to strike a pedestrian in their torso (which can cause more severe injuries), and in addition, those collisions into a pedestrian’s torso are more likely to cause the pedestrian to fall, which often results in deadly traumatic brain injuries.

It is also possible that vehicles with higher hood heights are more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents in the first place because of potential visibility issues for the driver. To be sure, the report indicates that vehicles with hood heights higher than 40 inches “may also impede visibility” by “producing huge forward blind zones that are especially dangerous to children and wheelchair users.”

Contact a Richmond Pedestrian Accident Attorney 

Motorists owe a duty of care to other motorists and to pedestrians on the roads in and around Richmond. If you were injured in a pedestrian collision, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Richmond pedestrian injury lawyer at Latham & Martin as soon as you can. We can provide you with information about the claims process and can answer any questions you have. Contact us for assistance today.



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