Consumers across California and the rest of the United States tend to follow automotive trends, and current market trends show a clear preference for larger vehicles, including trucks and SUVs. The number of consumers opting for these larger, heavier vehicles has risen rapidly in recent decades despite the fact that SUVs pose much more of a danger to pedestrians than traditional sedans.
According to J.D. Power, the number of Americans driving SUVs spiked considerably between 2009 and 2019.
How many Americans are driving SUVs
As of 2009, only about a fifth of all cars on America’s roads were SUVs. Yet, by 2019, almost 30% of cars on U.S. roadways were SUVs. Nowadays, more than 70% of consumers who purchase new cars opt for these large, heavy vehicles, creating new and notable threats for those who choose to travel on foot.
Why SUVs are more dangerous to pedestrians than sedans
When an SUV hits a pedestrian, it tends to strike the individual higher up on his or her body than a smaller sedan would. SUVs, by design, have higher front profiles or leading edges, than typical passenger cars, meaning they often cause more serious injuries and internal damage to a pedestrian. In fact, pedestrian deaths nationwide rose 53% over a recent 10-year span, and the rising number of people buying SUVs is a significant contributing factor. Currently, car-on-pedestrian deaths account for more than 20% of the nation’s total traffic deaths.
While the size and location of the leading edge of a vehicle help determine how much of a danger it poses to a pedestrian, so, too, does the speed at which that vehicle travels.