IIHS: SUVs may be the cause of higher pedestrian deaths in crashes

A new study shows that a growing number of SUVs on U.S. roads actually lead to higher death rates from pedestrian crashes,media CNET reported. SUVs are more lethal than regular cars in pedestrian crashes, according to new research released Tuesday by the American Highway Safety Insurance Association (IIHS). While iIHS acknowledges that its sample size is small — it has studied 79 incidents in Michigan — the numbers are a huge contrast. The insurance-funded safety agency also said it plans to continue studying crashes and the deaths of SUVs and pedestrians.

IIHS: SUVs may be the cause of higher pedestrian deaths in crashes

Overall, SUVs do more harm to pedestrians than regular cars at speeds of more than 19 miles per hour. In accidents in which SUVs travel at 20 mph to 39 mph, 30 per cent of accidents result in pedestrian deaths. Of the accidents that kill pedestrians, 23% involve cars.

At speeds of more than 40 mph, if the vehicle is an SUV, 100% of the pedestrians involved in the sample crash resulted in pedestrian death. When cars and pedestrians are involved in such crashes, only 54% of the time there are fatal accidents. Although this is another small sample.

The number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. has been rising slowly since 2008, until it rose 53 percent in 2018. At the same time, vehicle registrations show an 8% increase in the share of SUVs in U.S. vehicles. While automakers have definitely adopted a car-like design for so many SUVs and crossovers, IIHS notes that these changes are primarily in favor of other drivers in the event of a collision. In addition to a closer look at pedestrian and SUV crashes, IIHS plans to determine which SUV shape is the least risky to pedestrians.