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  • Writer's pictureThe Dr. Lawyer Law Group

Why Drivers of Pickup Trucks and Other Large Vehicles Need to Be Careful Making Turns

Light Truck Vehicles, or LTVs, such as pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, and minivans, have a deadly design flaw that poses serious risks for pedestrians, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). In 2020, there were over 6,500 pedestrian fatalities, a rise of over 59% since a low point in 2009.

When LTV drivers and pedestrians understand what contributes to this rise in pedestrian deaths, we can all work to be safer on our roads.

What Did the Researchers Look At?

Researchers looked at single-vehicle, single-pedestrian crashes to examine the association between the type of vehicle and common pedestrian crash types. The three common pedestrian crash types are when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway and the vehicle is (1) turning left, (2) turning right, or (3) going straight ahead.

What Did the Researches Find?

It is probably unsurprising to learn that pedestrian accidents that involve LTVs cause more severe injuries and are more deadly than accidents involving passenger cars. However, LTVs are more likely than cars to get into specific types of pedestrian crashes, indicating that a feature of the LTV may be the cause of these increased rates of accidents.

At intersections, LTVs are more likely than cars to be involved in a pedestrian accident while turning left. These types of pedestrian accidents are also more deadly than when the truck is not making a left turn. According to the research, SUVs are twice as likely to kill a pedestrian when making a left turn than cars, while vans and minivans are nearly three times as likely to, and pickup trucks are nearly four times as likely to.

Additionally, LTVs are more likely than cars to cause a fatal accident when making a right turn while the pedestrian is crossing the street. The report notes that a pickup truck making a right turn is 89% more likely than cars to kill a crossing pedestrian, while SUVs are 63% more likely to do the same.

Away from intersections, LTVs also pose an increased risk to pedestrians who are walking along the roadway when compared to cars. Pickups were 80%, and SUVs were 61% more likely than cars to hit pedestrians walking or running alongside a street. Vans and minivans were 45% more likely than cars to do the same.

What Does This Mean For LTV Designers and Pedestrians?

Researchers attribute these increased rates of fatal pedestrian crashes to potential blind spots created by the design of LTVs. IIHS Senior Transportation Engineer Wen Hu says that “It’s possible that the size, shape or location of the A-pillars that support the roof on either side of the windshield could make it harder for drivers of these larger vehicles to see crossing pedestrians when they are turning.” The high ride height and long front ends of LTVs may also interfere with drivers’ ability to see pedestrians.

Researchers believe that vehicle-design solutions, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems that can detect pedestrians or LTVs with more sloped front ends, can reduce fatalities when a larger vehicle is involved in an accident with a pedestrian.

Pedestrians should always be aware of turning vehicles, regardless of the type of vehicle. However, knowing that the drivers of larger vehicles like pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, and minivans may have less of an opportunity to see you than cars can help pedestrians avoid fatal collisions while crossing our roads.

If you, a friend, or a family member have been involved in a pedestrian accident in Arizona, you deserve more than an average injury attorney. At The Dr. Lawyer Law Group, we provide excellent representation with no upfront costs to our clients. We connect you with the best medical care for your injuries and fight to tell your story to the insurance companies. If you think you have an Arizona personal injury case, call us now or schedule a free case strategy session to learn about your legal rights.


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