Pedestrian deaths have risen rapidly across Florida and the nation in recent years, and so, too, have pedestrian-involved crashes that produce serious injuries. Pedestrian fatalities climbed steadily even though roadway deaths, in general, have decreased, raising questions about what is causing the uptick.
Per J.D. Power, the number of pedestrians dying in crashes increased 53% over the last 10 years, with pedestrian deaths rising each year within that span. Car-on-pedestrian crashes have become so commonplace that they now account for 21% of all traffic deaths nationwide.
The SUV factor
A major contributing factor to the rising number of pedestrians dying in the nation’s roadways is the increasing popularity of SUVs. In 2009, only about 20% of cars on the road were SUVs. By 2019, 29% of the vehicles on the nation’s roads were SUVs, and larger vehicles now also account for 70% of all new vehicle sales.
When a vehicle travels at or above 19 mph and strikes a pedestrian, the pedestrian is more likely to suffer serious injuries if that vehicle is an SUV. The risks become even more pronounced when SUVs travel at higher rates of speed. When SUVs travel at 40 mph, 100% of pedestrians struck by them die. When a traditional passenger car travels at 40 mph, 46% of pedestrian crash victims survive.
When SUVs strike pedestrians, they may cause injuries to major organs because of where they strike pedestrians on their bodies. When smaller cars strike pedestrians, they often do less damage than larger, heavier vehicles