Study: SUVs, light trucks pose significant risk to pedestrian crashes involving children

Traffic Safety Pulse News

Children are eight times more likely to die when struck by an SUV compared to those hit by drivers in passenger cars, a University of Illinois at Springfield study found.

Published in the Journal of Safety Research, researchers looked at more than 23,000 crash and hospital records in Illinois from 2016 to 2018 to evaluate the relationship between the type of vehicle that hit pedestrians, the victim's age, and the severity of injury or death. Of those, 63% of cases involved a pedestrian. Large silver SUV driving through crosswalk

Passenger cars were involved in 62% of pedestrians and cyclists crashes where children were hit, but caused about 19% of fatalities in those cases. However, SUV drivers were involved in just 16.9% of crashes, yet caused 40% of pedestrian deaths involving children.

Though pickup trucks were involved in hitting pedestrians in less than 6% of crashes, they were involved in 12.6% of pedestrian fatality crashes overall. SUVs were also overrepresented in striking and killing pedestrians compared to all crashes, involved in less than 15% of crashes studied by researchers, but involved in 25.4% of deadly crashes. 

The study's findings follow similar trends, including the Governors Highway Safety Association pedestrian fatality report, which showed that deaths involving SUVs rose 76% between 2011 and 2020, while deaths from passenger cars grew 36%.

"Larger vehicles are involved in pedestrian and pedal cyclist crashes with more severe injuries that result in higher hospital charges," the study said.

"The most vulnerable among us seem to bear the greatest burden," the study said.