SUVs Pose Less Accident Risk; However, Your Pickup Truck May Still Be a Threat
Back in the 1990s, people in cars and minivans were much more likely to die in a crash with an SUV than in a collision with another car or minivan. But in 2013 through 2016, there was only a slightly higher risk of death in a crash with a one to four-year-old SUV than in a collision with a car of the same vintage. This trend toward compatibility of cars and minivans with SUVs has been documented by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It has been attributed to new SUV designs with lower front ends and stronger structures and side airbags in cars and minivans.
However, pickup compatibility with cars is still lacking. The death rate for drivers of cars involved in crashes with pickups increased steadily from 1989 to 2008 in relation to the car driver death rate in collisions with other cars. Although the gap has closed some over the past decade, it remains significant. From 2013 to 2016, pickups were 2.5 times more likely than cars or minivans to be involved in a crash that was fatal for a car or minivan driver.
What Makes Pickups a Danger To Car and Minivan Occupants?
Pickups present an outsize danger in collisions with smaller cars and minivans. The weight imbalance is likely the reason behind the risk. To test this theory, researchers repeated their analysis, this time using only vehicles weighing 3,500 to 4,000 pounds. In this weight range, the death rate for car drivers in crashes with light pickups was only 23% higher than in crashes with cars of similar weight. The car driver death rate in crashes with SUVs weighing 3,500 to 4,000 pounds was slightly lower than the death rate in crashes with cars. These results indicate that weight differences between pickup trucks and cars are likely the reason for continued incompatibility.
Would Reducing Their Weight Make Pickups and SUVs Provide Less Protection for Occupants?
To answer this question, researchers analyzed death rates among pickup and SUV drivers. In the earlier years, death rates among drivers of light SUVs and pickups were much higher than death rates among drivers of full-sized SUVs and pickup trucks. However, from 2013 to 2016, the increase in death rates associated with drivers of lighter vehicles was lower. These findings indicate that higher curb weight is not as great a factor in protecting pickup and SUV occupants as it once was.
The sheer weight of a vehicle is less critical for protection now that we have sophisticated designs to manage forces in a crash, electronic stability control, and other crash avoidance features. This suggests that reducing the weight of heavier vehicles can reduce the risk for other motorists without sacrificing pickup and SUV occupant protection.
What If You Are In a Crash with a Pickup In the Meantime?
If you have been involved in a crash with a pickup as an occupant of a car or a minivan, you may have suffered serious injuries. It is in your best interests to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Call Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help. Our Orange County car accident attorneys have decades of experience successfully representing car accident victims.
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