SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans comprised more than two-thirds of all new vehicle sales in the United States in 2019. In addition to posing environmental issues, the vehicles are increasing the risk of pedestrian fatalities. Because of their weight and size, they:
- Convey more impact during a collision with a vulnerable pedestrian or cyclist
- Are more likely to strike a person's head or torso rather than their legs
- Present more blind spots for their drivers
Nationwide, as the popularity of light trucks rose, pedestrian fatalities in 2019 totaled some 8,800, an increase of 45 percent over a decade earlier. Over the same time period, cyclist deaths jumped 38 percent.
What cities can do to prevent pedestrian fatalities
Traffic-safety advocates say action is more feasible on the local level. Where the federal government is slow to react in such situations, they say, city leaders can respond in a speedier fashion. Among their proposals:
- Adjust parking fees to match vehicle size. Cities could charge more for parking permits for larger vehicles. Motorists might think twice about purchasing a full-size pickup truck if it is going to cost them more every year to park.
- Set aside more parking spaces for smaller vehicles. Allocating additional spaces for compact cars would encourage their ownership.
- Ban the metal grille guards on the front of bumpers known as "bull bars." They offer some protection for a vehicle, but are a serious risk to pedestrians and cyclists. The devices, in fact, are illegal in Europe.
- Employ smaller (and safer) city-owned fleets. European and Asian law enforcement agencies, for example, easily conduct police business with mid-size vans rather than out-size SUVs.
What you can do to protect yourself
If you are a pedestrian or cyclist who was injured in an accident involving a light truck, you may face severe injuries and a lengthy rehabilitation period. The driver of the large vehicle is unlikely to admit any fault. Instead, they probably will blame you. It is your word against theirs as you deal with injuries and mounting medical bills while you are unable to work and care for your family. In the meantime, an insurance company that is aware of your financial situation will tempt you will a low-ball settlement offer. If you take an offer, you won't be able to pursue compensation for all damages.
The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone have built a stellar reputation representing clients just like you in Massachusetts since 1985. Our law firm has the experience and the clout, with 10 offices statewide, to treat you with the professionalism and compassion that you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.