1708082844 Are SUVs more dangerous than cars Pivot point

Are SUVs more dangerous than cars? – Pivot point

Are SUVs more dangerous than cars Pivot point

Is the increasing popularity of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and their growing numbers on our roads causing safety issues? This is the question asked by one of our readers OUR Newsroom participatory. According to our confirmation, our roads have never been safer, despite the impact of SUVs on those who don't drive.

Are SUVs more dangerous than cars Pivot point

In fact, according to federal Department of Transportation statistics, all indicators point to continued improvement in safety on Canadian roads, even as more and more of us drive increasingly heavier vehicles.

Between 1999 and 2021, the latest year for which data is available, the number of people injured in road accidents has roughly halved, from 218,457 to 108,546, while the number of deaths has fallen by 41%, from 2,980 to 1,767.

However, the Ministry's data does not allow us to verify what proportion of these accidents were involving SUVs, but we do know that the place occupied by this type of vehicle within the Canadian automobile fleet continued to increase over the period.

In fact, slightly more light trucks, the category that includes SUVs but also pickup trucks and minivans, are being sold every year, while Canadians are buying fewer and fewer cars.

Through fluctuation, we are gradually moving towards replacing the vehicle fleet with these heavier vehicles. Even if this trend continues, SUVs and other trucks could account for almost all new vehicle sales in the country as early as 2028, according to the Energy Sector Management Chair, who is concerned about the environmental impact of this change.

A question of size

However, American researchers from the independent research organization Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the heavier the vehicle, the greater the risk of death or serious injury to people who are not in a heavy vehicle.

The occupants of an SUV who are involved in an accident with a small car, a cyclist or a pedestrian are not at greater risk because of their choice of vehicle, but people who come into contact with these SUVs are at greater risk.

This applies to SUVs, but also to electric vehicles, which can be up to twice as heavy as their gasoline counterparts. Not to mention, electric SUV sales now exceed electric car sales, according to the Energy Sector Management Chair.

A more dangerous form for pedestrians

In addition to their weight, SUVs and other light trucks are more dangerous to pedestrians than smaller vehicles because of their shape, according to an IIHS analysis.

When a pedestrian is hit by an SUV, the impact of the bumper is actually higher on the person's body. Therefore, it tends to bounce toward the front of the vehicle, whereas a person hit by a sedan tends to roll on the windshield and roof of the car, saving them much of the force of the impact in addition to being hit ensures that the impact is prevented from landing under the wheels of the vehicle.

SUVs are also designed to have larger blind spots than other vehicle types, increasing the risk that their driver may not see a person traveling on foot until it is too late to avoid it, the IIHS said.

Additionally, in the United States, the number of pedestrians involved in traffic accidents has increased by 80% since 2009, after steadily declining since the 1980s, a situation that several studies attribute to SUVs.

However, this trend is not seen in Canada, where the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities decreased by 26% and 20%, respectively, between 2009 and 2021.

A changing street environment

Several factors could explain the improving safety record on Canadian roads, despite the increase in the number and size of vehicles traveling on them. For example, according to a public safety report, drunk driving is trending down across the country.

In addition, new driver assistance technologies are now integrated into almost all new vehicles, which, according to the IIHS, helps prevent numerous accidents each year.

Land use planning may also have played a role, as hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested across the country to build safe pedestrian crossings and bike paths.

Safer roads for your children…especially in SUVs

Our reader ended her survey with the question: “Are our children safe in the back seats of our vehicles?” »

In 2021, 54 children aged fourteen or younger died and 5,429 were injured in an accident involving a road vehicle. This is approximately three times what it was in 1999. A significant decrease, especially considering that the number of vehicles on Canadian roads has increased by approximately 10% over the same period.

So even if you chose a small car for environmental reasons, your children will be much safer there than when they were children, even if the presence of SUVs on the roads increases the risk. Let them run.

A risk that is, however, no higher if you drive an SUV yourself. On the other hand, keep in mind that with these types of heavy vehicles, the likelihood that you will be the one who injures or kills a child in an accident increases significantly.