According to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pedestrians are more likely to get hit by a pickup truck than a car in Florida. The design of larger vehicles hinders driver visibility, contributing to the greater risk of hitting a pedestrian.
Identifying the problem
The IIHS reviewed 14,000 accidents that included a fatality and a pickup. Other studies of non-fatal crashes produced similar conclusions.
All studies lead to the same answer: the design of these larger vehicles is a big factor in pedestrian accidents.
Manufacturers are creating oversized vehicles to meet demand and many have engineering that blocks views of the road, especially when turning. Studies demonstrate there’s a greater chance of pedestrian accidents when turning left.
The shape, size or location of the A-pillars — the vertical or near-vertical supports in the windows — increase the chance a driver will not see pedestrians. Pillars on these huge trucks are also thicker because of modern-day roof crush standards.
Accidents are more likely as newer pickups are high off the ground. Drivers are also looking across a lengthy hood. A pedestrian running or walking too fast may not be seen. A driver is not likely to see children at all because their height falls below the hood.
What can be done?
Taller heights and bigger hoods have created several disturbing blind spots. Bigger pickups can have blind spots seven feet longer than SUVs as well as longer braking distances.
Active safety systems do bring better safeguards but do not necessarily address this unique situation. For instance, AEBs with pedestrian detection are less effective during a turn.
Improved hood designs would help, as well as strategically placed rubber curbs or bollards which would force slower turn speeds and sharper turns, increasing the possibility of seeing pedestrians sooner than too later.