How America’s Love for Big Cars Impacts Traffic Deaths

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

A growing number of motorists across New Hampshire and the rest of the United States are choosing large trucks or SUVs, rather than traditional sedans. While large cars and trucks may offer more protection in the event of a crash to those riding inside them, they actually create additional dangers for anyone not traveling in an oversize vehicle.

According to Slate, America first began its obsession with SUVs and oversize trucks about 20 years ago. SUVs first outsold passenger cars in 2002, and traffic deaths began rising steadily across the nation around this time.

How large vehicles impact safety

Studies show that big cars and trucks mean big trouble for bicyclists and pedestrians. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of cyclists killed on the nation’s roads increased by 44%. The number of drivers opting for large trucks and SUVs also increased during this time. Big cars are even more of a threat to pedestrians, with SUVs three times as likely to kill a pedestrian than a sedan. Across the nation, pedestrian deaths reached a 40-year high in 2021.

Why large vehicles impact safety

The large size and substantial weight of large vehicles mean they make more of an impact when they hit someone. Larger vehicles also have higher leading edges, meaning they typically hit cyclists and pedestrians on the upper parts of their bodies, where they may cause the most damage. Bigger vehicles also mean bigger blind spots, which makes it tougher for drivers of these vehicles to spot cyclists or pedestrians in their vicinities.

Some nations are taking steps to decrease interest in large vehicles. In France, larger vehicles come with heavier tax burdens.