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How SUVs have contributed to more pedestrian deaths

Throughout New Jersey and the United States in general, we are driving more SUVs than ever before. The cheap cost of gas, supposed safety features and roomy interiors have driven many to trade in cars for bigger sport utility vehicles.

Unfortunately, our obsession with bigger automobiles comes with a hefty cost. It turns out that more SUVs means more pedestrian deaths. Here’s how the two are connected:

Bigger frames cause more damage

The first and most obvious factor is that SUVs have a much bigger frame than other automobiles. They ride higher off the ground and have more clearance. While the added height can make it easier for drivers to see, it comes with a cost.

Because of the higher profile, pedestrians are much more likely to get sucked into the front of an SUV. When cars strike someone, they may bounce over the hood which is preferable to rolling underneath. The higher profile of SUVs means more pedestrians get trapped underneath them. Statistics show a pedestrian struck by an SUV is almost twice as likely to die than someone struck by a car.

More powerful engines mean more speed

SUVs have bigger engines than cars and can accelerate to high speeds very quickly. For pedestrians, this matters as the probability of death goes from 45 percent when struck at 30 mph to 85 percent when struck at 40 mph.

Bigger engines let drivers reach higher speeds, which means more SUVs create faster traffic. This extra speed can mean life or death for pedestrians. With more SUVs on the road, pedestrians are encountering faster, bigger vehicles.

Bigger cars magnify driving mistakes

As more of us drive bigger vehicles, the impact of distracted driving grows. When a person is distracted while driving an SUV, their mistakes can be amplified. Bigger vehicles can plow through barriers meant to protect people on foot. The larger profile means a vehicle can tip over more easily. The heavier body means they take longer to stop.

Protecting pedestrian rights

When you’re on foot, you have the reasonable expectation of safety around automobiles. A driver’s bad habits shouldn’t land you in the hospital.

If you’re involved in an accident with a motorist, a skilled personal injury attorney is a great resource.

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