According to new reports, pedestrians need to keep an eye out for pickup trucks taking a turn down their streets. An online news report published on treehugger.com informed its readers about a new study that indicates how light truck vehicles (LTVs), such as pickup trucks or Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), have a deadly design defect that is literally killing pedestrians.
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) discovered that LTVs were more likely to cause life-threatening—if not fatal—injuries to pedestrians. Safety advocates believe that the safety issue is caused by a design defect. They believe the design flaw is the high, flat front end that most modern trucks have. While it may appear more visually appealing, the high front-end design actually limits the driver's visibility and creates blind spots unique to LTVs, which makes it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians while turning and can lead to deadly accidents.
What Are the Stats?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a new study that evaluated the relationship between passenger vehicle types and pedestrian collision types. In the study, researchers Wen Hu and Jessica Cicchino discovered that LTVs were incredibly dangerous while making turns.
Their research showed that when pickup trucks made left turns, the drivers were four times more likely to actually kill pedestrians than the same turns made by cars. It also showed that they were three times more likely to kill pedestrians than vans and two times more likely to kill pedestrians than SUVs. Their study also showed that when the pickup trucks turned right, they were nearly 90% more likely to kill pedestrians during a collision than other vehicles.
Is It More Than Just a Design Flaw?
While these initial designs were made to help protect the passengers inside the vehicle, they can leave pedestrians vulnerable. In the same study, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety proposed that the design flaws of pickup trucks were to blame for the increase in fatal pedestrian collisions, noting that the overall shape, size, and location of the roof A-pillars on both sides of the windshield can block the visibility for the driver when turning, leading to an increase in pedestrian collisions.
Another design flaw that increases the risk of pedestrian deaths involves the hood of pickup trucks and SUVs. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, they deduced that LTVs had a higher chance of causing certain types of pedestrian collisions when pedestrians are near the front corners of LTVs. This is due to how high the hoods are elevated on the vehicle, and drivers are often blind to the pedestrians that are in front of the cars.
What Needs to Change?
Pickup trucks can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds, and federal regulations mandate that roof pillars on the vehicle must support the weight on all four points, which is why the pillars must be so thick, causing the blind spots. However, there must be a way to work around these blockage points to increase pedestrians' safety. In Europe, vehicles are designed to reduce the danger of fatal pedestrian collisions. Electric vehicles are also increasingly popular, and these vehicles avoid having the engine up front or any bulky designs, making the visibility much clearer.
The study also showed that these types of collisions occur more frequently along city streets due to the high number of pedestrian traffic. In order to reduce the number of collisions, Wen Hu, the lead researcher from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, believes that improving the design is only one step in the process. Hu also believes that in order to reduce pedestrian fatalities, road infrastructure and vehicle speed reduction in urban areas need to be implemented. Hu also suggests the potential of banning these LTVs from cities altogether.
Connect With an Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a turning pickup truck, contact a Morgan & Morgan attorney. When you hire one of our attorneys, they will work with you 24/7. Your attorney and team will work with medical professionals and other experts to gather evidence to ensure that you have the strongest case possible. There is no charge for a consultation with us; if we don't win your case, you will not owe us any money for our services. For more information on how a Morgan & Morgan attorney can help you, please complete our free, no-obligation case evaluation form today.